This girl
will burn…

Her conception was my fault
The doctor arrived 15 minutes before her
She was born without a cry
I cut the umbilical chord
The blanket burnt in the oven
I told strangers at the bus stop

She taught me responsibility before I grew up

This little girl saved
stray puppies, injured pigeons, sick rabbits
She founded the Girls Club street gang

Laughing she ran through the glass door
After they phoned, I was so freaked
I drove fast to the wrong hospital
When I arrived at the right one
The doctor was stitching her wrists with a whale needle
She was still laughing, shaking

She only listens when she’s trapped in the car
on the way to the shops
“Emma, there’s two bad genes
you inherited:
money is like water
and I know how to have a good time, too well”
She smiles “Hey, they both go well together”

She has her own dialect “Oy dad!”
meaning “Can I please have 10 bucks
to buy some spin for the mull mill?”
She brought home a kitten called “Gitane”
who jumps on the keyboard when I’m typing
She ripped up the carpet at midnight
Not the kitten, the girl
She hangs her clothes on the floor
She lost her first mobile phone
She gave her second one
to her dumb-ass junkie boyfriend.

She lost her door key again
She came home at 2am
She didn’t need to knock
I heard her cough outside
“Have another cigarette,
damn, I’ll have one myself”

This girl is a waif
a baby gangsta
This girl will burn the crust off the earth.


© Hal Judge

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

Share your thoughts

* Gloria Steinem