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Grade
12

when gabi hands him a doughnut

and another student says,

“sounds puritanical.”

 

no sugar

no carbs

sauces with no oil

 

“you know

at the end of summer

you need to

tighten things up”

he says.

 

sounds puritanical.

 

fear and self control

play well together

with guilt.

 

last year

we read scarlet letter

and the crucible

i shaved myself down

thin enough

to hide between pages

 

shame colonized

everywhere

 

i hollowed out.

 

my final project

critiqued the romanticizing

of female pain.

 

men made a fetish of

beautiful female death

only loved wan flesh

sick women

 

if there’s one thing

i’ve learned from the history

of this country

it’s hypocrisy.

 

we build a world

on things we can’t do.

i tell myself

i am fine.

 

don’t i mean better?

 

mean

my body

is stronger than

two hundred years

of romanticizing

everything not alive?

 

don’t i mean

i don’t wait for god to save me?

 

that

i don’t flinch

when mr. ashley doles out

self deprecation like

gabi doles out doughnuts?

 

my country hasn’t

recovered either.

 

my country still only

wants to hollow out.

 

still only

sees women

as candy wrapper

like lick out the sugar

and throw away the rest

 

my country

blesses men

who know witchery

but accuses women

for living.

 

dr. Ford death-threat forced to move,  

while her assaulter moves to the supreme court.

 

trump calls accusations against him

“the greatest witch hunt in american history.”

 

what about salem?

what about anita hill?

what about social media comments that turn my friends’ Instagram accounts into public humiliation,

stocks,

pillory.

 

last year

i played betty parris

in the crucible

 

my brother

said i looked twelve

and i took it

as a compliment

 

wanted my body

to stay frozen

 

i sculpted myself

into someone

hawthorne could write about.

 

i’d like to say

history doesn’t repeat itself

 

but style magazine ads

show women drowning

under the weight

of their necklaces.

 

i’d like to say i make it across the ocean.

that I find land without taking away.

i’d like to say

i don’t spin

in a whirlpool of regret after dinner.

don’t feel like I’m navigating a hurricane

waking down the pioneer hallway.

 

i’d like to say

i have hop-across-the-ocean faith

 

let my body

believe in flesh

let me believe

in myself

 

every day

i make room

for this living

 

every day

i make my body

a new home.

 

State
MI
Zip Code
48104