by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

For Meagan


“Hope II,” oil, gold, and platinum on canvas, by Gustav Klimt, 1908.

For the girls above or below
five foot something

For the legs so long
they tangle when we saunter
through corridors

For the elongated bodies
that beckon nicknames
like giraffe and Lurch
and Jolly Green Giant

For the inquiries we answer:
are you a basketball player

For the perception
of the direct relation
between height and intelligence,
so expectations
of you,
like you,
are always higher

For those who must cower
in the presence of
apprehensive boys,
so they do not feel smaller

For those who flatten their peaks
and compress their stature,
so the males are not inferior

For the high heels that are acceptable,
those sleek sticks he deems exceptional,
for as soon as he satisfies his wishes,
he can remove the shoes
and feel once again superior

For the soft hunch you engender
to belong to the normal

For the stages you block
with your lengthened frame;
for the viewers behind you
spewing whispered rage

For the furled bodies in airplane seats;
for the quick-to-know-your-place
in classroom photography

For idle microphones raised
to meet your lips;
for the mediocre ceilings
that calculate your limits

For the net and hoop aligners;
for those whose gait is quicker;
for the fetal shape of your
sleeping torso so that one day
you will become shorter

For the blood that vacations
in your extended conduits
just a little bit longer

For the webs of silk
and denim and lace
that miss the sprawl of your skin

For the bones that bridge
one distant end to another;
for angles overlooked and
mismatched embraces

For the array of scalps
displayed like arcs
below you

For the pain that chaperones
your growth

For the men

For the men who distress you,
punish and renounce you,
believing they can heedlessly harm you
because after all
your height should protect you

For the genes that blessed you vertically

For you

For you,
biologically positioned to look down
on these fools

For you,

everything must be custom made

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared in The Missing Slate, Passages North, HEArt Journal Online, Chiron Review, and is forthcoming in Natural Bridge, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Pinch Journal. She currently lives in New York and practices matrimonial law.