Photo Credit: “Bond” by Cindy Aquino | Winner, Pride Award 2013 | Published with permission from Cindy Aquino


Dear Woman Lover

By Shakira Sison



It is nothing short
of a miracle
You are here.

After all I have been raised
to seek a husband,
told that even the way I take
my eaten-off plate
from the table disqualifies me
from marriage.

Come into my bed, lover.
Show me how
all parts of you are as soft
and as fragile as mine.
Come to me with your commanding footfalls
and harder-earned swagger.
Let me undress how you have dressed
the way you want to
after you’re told not to,
because like me, you
are unbecoming
of what they call
a lady.

Come into me, woman.
Kiss each part of me
that’s been told it’s not
big or smooth or tight
Bury your face in skin I’m told
has to be painted
and soaked
and scraped
and pulled
just to appear flawless in the eyes
of a man.

For all the times I’ve been shoved
into rooms and roles
and ways of speaking,
being and living
befitting a woman’s place,
show me that a true woman’s place
is what you find
when you gently seek
your space
between my thighs.

Coax what is hidden and shamed,
what is forgotten and not named,
when a man approaches with stiffness
and thrusts and grunts
before he is gone.

Allow me to kiss what you keep
darkest and most secret
where you’ve never been permitted to feel.
I will love you for entire days,
taking all you can give
filling all that you open
but never a touch more
after the smallest breath suggests
anything less
than a yes.

We won’t fear the light
on our bodies
in the morning.
The soft roundness of our aging flesh
turns into pillows for stories,
each hair a marker to count
our days as women,
knowing our love has never been about any man
but about everything else that goes on without him.

Know that the love between us
will never be ordinary
as it will always be forbidden,
guarded by rules that say
only what a man touches is real.

Meanwhile, my dear.
We live and love and fuck.
We start families and build homes.
We raise children to love
and who in turn see our love.
Years later still being told
we must still be wanting dick.

We never wanted this war,
never wanted to approach
or be approached
with hardness demanding entry.
I have only ever wanted
to show you a woman’s place
in women’s lives.

Yet in every touch
against every prohibition
a woman’s breast
on a woman’s tongue
always seems to become
in itself
a revolution.

So we fight
by loving.


Shakira Sison is a Filipina writer living in New York City.