I’m sick of the trappings of power
The puffed-out peacock chests
The listen-to-me-or-else tone
The swagger
The veiled threats
The raised voices
The yes-people nodding along

How sometimes, a lot of times, most times
you have to nod along to blend in
Tallest blade of grass gets cut and all that
How you make yourself smaller
How you talk softer,
in small words a sixth-grader understands
How you are careful to flatter,
and avoid criticism

All the games to play–
giving credit for someone else’s ideas
Keeping everyone endlessly in the loop
Running things up the chain
Making sure the information comes from
the right person, so it can be heard

How we smile when we aren’t happy
How we laugh when it’s not funny
How we nod and look interested
when we want to yank all our hair out
and run outside, with bare feet
and empty hands

Rosalie Hendon (she/her) is an environmental planner living in Columbus, Ohio. Her work is published in Change Seven, Pollux, Willawaw, Write Launch, and Sad Girls Club, among others. Rosalie is inspired by ecology, relationships, and stories passed down through generations.