The Shapes We Mae

Two Poems by Maddie Godfrey

PoetryLily MyersComment

A Letter To The Guy Who Made a Big Deal About The Hair on My Legs

you are not the first, and you will not be the last.

in a society where bodies are commodities

and gender is a role call of unequal repression


do these hairs make you, uncomfortable?

does my body’s natural function make you, squirm?

did you know that once a month most women bleed

from the place you like to put your...ego

that’s right, female bodies are not purely aesthetic

and that opinion alone is pretty damn pathetic


BDSM, exhibitionism, foot worship, role play

these are fetishes

my body - is not

your voyeuristic eyes disguise narcissistic drive

you see, i’ve learnt that when men like you look my frame

they don’t see a person

they see an ideal vehicle of pleasure’s domain


like a sex doll that doesn’t need inflating

a vibrator with no batteries

I am an adult shop accessory

a vessel ready to be restocked

at your dock of sexual fulfillment

built purely for an enactment of

fantasy acts that you fabricate

attracted to the blank slate

you’ve been taught to call “woman”


this is a letter,

to explain why I left your house so fast

why I drove away shaking my head

why I am not returning your texts

why I will never sleep in your bed

if I see you out, I will smile

thinking of the hair on my legs

and on the days that I do shave

please know, it will be for me


because I am not a puppy of patriarchy

those social rules do not conform to my school

of thought, of aesthetic preference

I am growing outwards

I am taking up space

no long trying to shave and contort myself

into a mold that has no room

for my self respect


this is a letter I will never send

but I will read it loudly and proudly

and at this point, I will gesture to my legs

in celebration of a body

that will not internalize your ideology

with hair that just keeps growing

this body refuses to obey gender inequality



I’m in my best friend’s kitchen, his Mum is making burgers-
chopping lettuce and tomato, while beef sizzles on the stove.
she asks me about uni, about work,
what happened to the “nice boy” who I brought around last year.
my best friend interrupts, looks sternly at his mother then hands me a plastic cup.

this naturalisation of negligence has become a nightly ritual
using a substance to silence
we’re intoxicated by inebriation
the satisfaction that comes from no self consciousness
these fluids of socialisation are friendship’s lubrication
so normalised in every day and every night
that we do not question
why we raise poison to our lips

when I stopped drinking
I wanted to see if I could laugh without the tipsiness tickling me
could smile in sobriety
no more stumbling saturdays
no more blurry backyard parties
no more sipping liquor off another’s skin

it’s hard to flirt when you’re sober
every advance is amplified by the clarity of consciousness
even dancing became harder when I put down my drink
because my sober frame was a place that I had forgotten how to reside in

so accustomed to being in the war zone I recognised as my own body
the beer bottle, the wine glass, the goon bag -  had become weapons
so i disarmed myself
in sobriety, I started cleansing the battleground I had cultivated
a barren land of empty bottles, broken glass and vomit strewn soil
teaching my body how to heal itself of fight itself
now healing myself instead of fighting myself

breathing in sobriety
feels like driving on the freeway at 5:30AM
when the sun is just starting to rise
full speed
windows down
the whole carriageway is yours

I am standing in my best friends kitchen, his mother asks why I do not drink any more
I tell her, I gave up alcohol for the same reason that I left every abusive relationship
I was done internalising poison