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Welcome to Manhood, Gillette Told the Woman, 50

in Culture/Opinion by

and she was game. Why not be someone
else, even in her own gloaming? Stray hairs

sprouted from her chin, and more would.
An incipient mustache hovered in shadow.

She had loved both woman and men. Why not
go farther? Armed with her own set of balls,

she could abandon caricature and verify
if those sacs conferred the rumored privilege.

She was ready to spread her knees wide
on bus seats. Already, in secret, she mimicked

mansplaining, well-prepared to reiterate
in meetings and memos. Once into manhood,

perhaps she could rewatch A Handmaid’s Tale
without panic, return her emergency stash

of Canadian currency, her maps to the border.
She could be an ideal father to her son,

look askance at her daughters’ boyfriends,
craft unabashed dad jokes. “Your first shave

won’t make you a man,” Gillette cautioned,
but it will get you “pretty darn close.”


Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Trailhead Magazine VCFA, The Prick of the Spindle, and Permafrost.

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