Convenient Spaces

I've become a convenient woman.
I hold my tongue — swollen like a dead fish —
motionless behind pressed lips.

So many of us have learned to live
in these convenient spaces.
Sit with our legs crossed.
Speak with an upward inflection.
Twist and turn and transform our opinions
until they’re pillow-soft.

Say “yes”
because “no” isn’t in our vocabulary.
Say “thank you.”
when the strange man at Starbucks
tells you that you're beautiful.
Make yourself small
so that you fit into the palm
of whoever wishes to have you.

It’s not easy
to learn how to be inconvenient,
to speak loudly,
to say “no” when you need to,
to say “yes” when you want to,
to sit with one leg tucked beneath you,
or with your foot propped up on the edge of your chair
if that’s how you're comfortable.
Let your voice ebb and flow with the tides of your emotion.

I cannot continue to exist
in convenient spaces.

*****

Angel Dionne is an assistant professor of English literature at the University of Moncton Edmundston campus. In 2019, she completed her PhD in creative writing at the University of Pretoria. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her foray into surrealism resulted in her experimental work being published in small journals and anthologies including Sein Und Werden, Good Morning Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail, Crack the Spine, Everyday Fiction, and Narrow Doors in Wide Green Fields. Finally, she co-edited a collection of essays entitled Rape Culture 101: Programming Change which was published by Demeter Press in 2020.