I love you but only when you’re dressed like a boy

You see, the thing is that when you dress

The way you want to dress you make

Your choices a burden on me

Because you are my child… you see?

 

I love you but only when you speak in Setswana.

You see, the thing here is that when I don’t trust

That your tongue is well equipped in our language

I fail to see how you can be of any use to

Yourself or any of the other people you’re going

To meet and tell that you are my child… you see?

 

I love you but only when you stay in the closet.

Ok, this term ‘the closet’ I just don’t understand

Because it’s not from us now is it?

It’s a borrowed term and you’re borrowing sexuality and mentality

As well but you’re going to tell people

That you are my child… you see?

 

I love you but only when people don’t know that

you are my child.

You see, I’d never disown you because I love you

Or at least the part of you I remember

Before you made the rules your own

And started being this person who you know I don’t

Care for or understand, or want to understand

Because I knew you long ago and I know you best

Because you are my child… you see?

 

You are my child and that means I control your body

You are my child and that means I deserve to tell you what is best for you

You are my child and I can’t fight this battle for you

You are my child and I will beat at your heart and call it strengthening

You are my child and your war cries are making me go deaf so please keep it down

You are my child and I think you should stay home if you want to be yourself

You are my child and I built these walls to protect you

You are my child but please burn your love notes to the person you believe yourself to be

You are my child and you need to be me

You are my child but please don’t be surprised if I don’t want to talk to you in public

You are my child but you must know that you embarrass me beyond words

 

I love you but you’re making it hard for me to say these things

Because you just refuse to be normal.

 

I love you but you are not the first to want to speak

You see, you need to ask me about the things I have seen

The men and women like you I have watched fall

While I sat on my escalator to the top

While I sipped on coffees and looked out at the snow falling

While I comfortably fought for a better position

While I kept my pants at home so that I wouldn’t intimidate or offend my male counter parts- you see a woman knows when to do things

 

I say a woman but you, my child, are no such thing and you confuse me

You confuse other people too

They ambush me with questions about you and I don’t know what to say

I love you but stop embarrassing yourself

I love you but I can’t stand by your side if you want to marry a man

You are my child and I’ll love you until the day you die… but if you’re unhappy and commit suicide I’ll blame it on you and not on the society I want you to disappear within.

You are my child and I love every part of you but not the part that you want the world to see.

I love you, but please shut up and make me some tea.