“I want to be called a soft they” by Sydney Haas


the kind that belongs here in the optimist’s daydream

it blooms off of your tongue

like the cherry blossoms on Easter Sunday

Here, pale pink means nothing more than Spring has come-

apple blossoms too and the fragrance is welcomed.

A soft they

flowers out your lungs

and doesn’t question its birth into the pink.

Instead, it cloaks the schoolyard in satin

sounds, effortless noise no more heavy than a breeze

no more startling than a dewy sunrise.

A soft they

lives beyond the need for smoky sky, lives

in the before times, lives in the ancient moss

and the fossils

beneath our bones.

Of course, I cannot want

a soft they, for it cannot be

given softly if the giving is a choice, if the giving comes

from a place where t h e y is sharpened gravel

and so

if it’s the softness that I crave, I’ll settle

for a she that echoes the milky moon, a dust of shimmered

pink on the eyelids, a murmured call that only

t h e y and I will notice.


Sydney Haas (she/they) is a writer and theatre artist based in Seattle, Washington. They are a cancer sun and moon and spend as much time as possible next to a body of water or behind an espresso machine. She recently graduated from Seattle University with a degree in English and Theatre, and is excited to carry her passions forth into the world.