Load game.

Press start.

Are you a boy
or a girl?

Pause game.

On the one hand,
I could play
as a girl.

Chun Li:
street fighter
clad in blue
with thunder thighs
and lightning kicks.

Lara Croft:
packing treasure
in her bag
and guns
on her hips.

Norma Beatty:
floating carefree
like golden bubbles.

I'd rather play
as neither
a girl
or boy.

I once
played a game
that let me
choose my form.

I felt like
a child,
gleefully playing
dress up.

I tried on
hairy torsos,
long hair,
and spiky legs.

Settled on
short hair,
brown skin,
a skirt.

My avatar
became armor,
protection against
axes cleaving
me in two.

Male or female.
Straight & cis.
and maybe Black.

How can I
have four hearts,
two extra lives,
but only one way
to play?

Let me be
a hero
through golden good,
ebony evil,
or silver chaos.

Let me be
more than
an NPC
with no destiny.

Let me be
myself more often
so I stop pausing
and finally
press play.

EFNIKS aims to support queer & trans poets of color across our platform. To be considered for paid poetry publication, visit our Submissions Page, or write to our Poetry Editor at poetry@efniks.com.