Gift Exchange

August 4, 2023

I lit the torches—

Led the brigade,

As if your heartbreak

Wasn’t also a primal wound.

I felt rage,



And I assumed

Playing offense was the smartest move.


“There’s not enough to go around.”

“Male attention’s from a mine yet to be found–

A hidden treasure to pander for.

Pay no mind to female candor.”


Who says that a man’s the goal?

Can’t I be my own focus, just for starters?


“She could be prettier, thinner, smarter,

Then what would you have to barter?”


Where’d I get this voice in my head?

It’s rude, conniving, and bitter.

It whispers, “Sit back and watch what’s coming.

Go and get her.”


It shows up when he picks her,

Points out when your pants don’t zipper,

Laughs when your idea’s shut down–

Your inner boss turned demure.

Makes you fear the face in the mirror.


It’s grating,



Seriously, whose voice is that? Who’s listening?

I sit witnessing as it spews another lie


When it hits me like a ton of bricks:

It doesn’t need to be like this.


You’re not a size zero,

Veered off the straight and narrow,

Zeroed in on weakness to harrow,

Realized you can be your own hero.


It’s not her fault you diverged paths.

You wouldn’t turn back.

Put down the dagger,

Have her back.

Lift her up when you have the chance.

Don’t hold back.


There’s more than enough to go around.

Endless love all surrounds.

Don’t cut her down.

Fix her crown.

Crack down on defense.

Break down the pretense.


Where once lived disdain,



The friendship the innocent wish for

Feels right as rain.



Kailani Norwell is an amateur writer. She writes for the love of writing. It is her sincerest form of expression—a way to put her wide-ranging ideas and life experiences into something cohesive. As a clinical therapist, she helps others find, listen to, and use their voice. And her writing is her voice. The world as she experiences it is her inspiration, and her love of personal flair fuels her style. She doesn’t think she’s to write the next great American novel, but she’s to write something. Stay curious.


Featured image by Noussaiba Garti on Pexels