"Ever notice how, when we’re kids,
they call us boys and girls.
And there’s no wiggle room in titles like that.
And maybe it feels a little suffocating,
and maybe it feels right.
But I grew up, found my curves and my voice—
hair in the places we’re not allowed to talk about.
And all I hear about are, even now, all these men
Like while they were busy getting older,
I got stuck in this prepubescent wet dream,
where boys with hungry hands run fingers
down my hairless thighs
and heave humid breaths at the seam of my neck.
I noticed men have this way
of using infantile language like love poems.
You’re his “girl”—
You’re always gonna be his “girl”
He rattles it off like the sweetest kind of promise,
and dresses you up in your best doll clothes,
and this is what you’ve got.
This is what you’re given.
Ladies! How many of your fathers ever told you
you would always be Daddy’s Little Girl,
even after you were paying your own mortgage?
And exactly how many eight year old boys
have watched fathers go off to work,
go off to war,
to get told they’re man of the house, now.
Even though they’ve got two older sisters,
with high school diplomas,
even though they’ve got a mother
with hands made of the same kind of marble
they build monuments out of—
That little boy, can’t even reach over the counter,
that little boy, he’s a man, now.
I don’t know how many years I’m expected
to stave off the rougher parts of womanhood.
I gotta buff out my wrinkles,
I gotta paint on my face.
They don’t get to see all of the things that make me.
See, I’ve got these beautiful stretch marks
that break like creamy tributaries
over my thighs.
So I wanna know, what makes me girl
and what makes me woman?
And how come I’m not the one
who gets to decide?"
"Four in the morning on my couch and we
are getting drunk on sweet wine,
like the indulgence of the gods—
We crawl into each other’s mouths,
You left the stove on and I imagine
that red hot coil and I
have too much in common—
the smoke and mirror of your skin
and how you pulled me from your hat
but I never found a home in you.
I did get lost there, for a while,
as though you were every country back road
I’m not supposed to take at night.
People don’t travel down you
for a reason.
They know better.
But not me.
Tree sap on your tongue while I
walk blind into the forest of your chest.
While I find Artemis among your ribs,
while I go wading through wilderness.
She didn’t kill me,
but she held on so long,
with teeth like the wolf
and rabbit fur in her fists.
Call me Little Red Riding Hood.
Call me Little Bo Peep.
Call me something small and unassuming:
the red-breasted bird with the blood on its beak.
If you were hunting season, then I
was the broken wings—
the place where I learned that
perfect aim is a mercy.
The place where I learned that you
were the bad kind
of a good thing."
"Men write universal stories. Women write stories for girls. Men write Literature. Women write chick lit. Even in a world where women do publish in heavier numbers than men do, they are underscored, underseen, and undervalued. Twilight is and will remain a crucial part of YA’s history — YA’s female-driven history — despite or in spite of the fact it doesn’t garner the same praises that those held up as idols within the community do. Men like John Green become symbols of YA’s forward progress and Seriousness as a category, whereas Stephenie Meyer gets to be a punchline."
"You were the one who held his hand
after the fist fight that left his knuckles
like red wine on fresh-turned dirt.
All this time, and I always wanted to ask
if his blood on your hands
felt some kind of sacred.
I don’t think either of us were ever
any good for him.
Because you loved him bruised,
and I loved him bloody—
I know how it sounds, believe me, and
I have torn through rabbit holes
hunting for a better heart,
but I’ve got a weak spot for broken boys
is my most disgusting feature.
You may not have loved him well,
but at least you loved him halfway whole.
Me? I would have kissed
the broken teeth from his mouth
and kept them all for myself.
I would have cracked open his crème brûlée chest
and eaten out the insides—
hung up his twisted x-rays on my walls
so I could never forget the look of a ruined heart.
I don’t break them myself, you see.
I just go collecting in the aftermath.
Grave robber for the still alive:
I may not kill anyone,
but I have never been afraid
to take what I need