Boy / by Academy Monthly

       Paint the fence on Saturday and let it dry on Sunday; paint it again on Monday and then again on Wednesday; go to the fields with the other men to work; wear your working pants; cover your head to not get burnt; you are a man, a strong man, help the others; help your Father carry the cane back from the fields; help the men load the cane into the mill; help them carry the baskets and the carts back to the farm; help your sister carry the okra back from the tree; this is how you stand like a man; this is how you dress like a man; this is how you talk like a man; this is how you be the man I have made you, not the boy you want to be; ask your father how to grind the cane; ask your father how to wash it, how to store it, how to take count of the harvest; is it true that you are learning how to sew?; make sure you give your day clothes to your sister to wash; give your sister your farm clothes and your town clothes separate, they mustn't mix; make sure you give her your church clothes separate; they need to stay clean from the rest;  

       what is this dress I’ve found, did you make it?; you can not make dresses for you to wear; you can not sew clothes on your own; your sister can sew for you if you want, and not dresses; you will work the field and play with the other boys, not sew; you will play ball and roughhouse and throw stones with the other boys; you will wear pants and shirts and dress as the man I have made you, not the boy you want to be; I don’t want to play outside and fight and throw stones; help your sister carry the baskets of laundry, they are heavy; when you go to Sunday school, stay there, don’t run off with the other boys; say your pleases and your thank you’s to your father, he deserves it; do what your father says, or you will be punished; if your father asks you to carry something, don’t question him; if your father sends you to fetch something, don’t question him; if your father asks you to tell him something, don’t question him; this is how to bully a girl; this is how to let a girl bully you; this is how to please a girl; this is how a girl will please you; this is how you keep a girl by you; this is how you let a girl keep you; this is how you command a girl; this is how a girl will command you; do not let me see you kill a bird with all the stones you throw; do not let me see you hit a girl when she’s done nothing wrong; if you see a woman carrying a big load when you are down by the market, you go carry it for her; if you see an elder walking down the street with his cane, you go support him while he walks; if you hear somebody call for help, you go help them; do not let me see you disrespect your father, or your teachers, and much less me; do not let me see you sewing ever again; do not let me see you wearing skirts or dresses you’ve made, or I’ll cut them up; do not let me see you braid your hair, or I’ll cut it short; do not let me see you playing and dancing and singing with the girls, or I won’t let you sing or dance or play with anyone; you will go outside and play with the other boys; you will work the farm with the men; you will respect your father like he did his; you will think before you curse in front of me; you will do your work and your responsibilities like you’ve grown; you will be a man, not the boy you want to be; I don’t want to be a boy; then you are a man; I don’t want to be a man; well then. What are you?