From He to She

Between the light and dark shades of my shadow,
And in the familiar silhouette spread through the mirror,
I saw more of a queasy lass springing
Mom’s gawky boy, too inelegant to be a girl.

I was dressed to display dignity,
To show off the machismo stamped at birth.
My skin cried defying the body it concealed.

From being a Pretty Mystery to a Question Mark,
From a being a Silly Farceur to an Awful Sapphic,
The migration was strange, dark and excruciating.

It’s my fault – an aftermath of past lives’ sins!
Lords of morality cast my prayers, diluted
To the lesser gods tagged “he-or-she”.

My authentic expressions are cultural misfits
My dreams need to align with my genitalia
If you have long colorful feathers, you got be a peacock!

When I don’t decide who you should be
Why don’t you let me paint my identity?
When I can erase the dysphoric mist from the mirror
Who are you to determine the gender of my shadow?

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About Suma K Gopal

Suma hails from a village in Kerala, India, and writes in English and Malayalam. Her poems, written through those inevitable moments of change, are quiet expressions that help her unmask. Her poems have been published in various international anthologies including Inner Child Press International, Amaravati Prism, and xpresspublications/, and has written lyrics for music albums. Suma holds Master’s degree in English Language and Literature and has given poetry readings at a number of events. Suma began her career as a web journalist about two decades ago, but later she chose a profession in Human Resources, while poetry remains her passion.Suma is a South Indian classical musician, a certified executive coach and a senior Human Resources professional in a multinational organization based in Bangalore.

8 thoughts on “From He to She

  1. Amita Paul

    A compassionate poem about non- binary gender identification and the painful transitions that persons who identify themselves as non binary often have to go through in a world that still needs to be sensitised and educated much more on the subject.


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