Things my mother taught me

i.

Hold in your stomach
Smile
He only does that
because he likes you
They do not care
how smart you are
You look so pretty
in green

ii.

That girl, she’s had sex
You can tell
by how she walks
the sway in her hips
the way she flashes her teeth
That girl is cheap

iii.

Cigarettes make you thin
Thinness makes you young
Youth makes you desirable
Desire makes you relevant

iv.

There is something deeper
—more profound—
in the things that go unsaid
But until we learn to listen
what we remember
is the words

v.

Joy comes from
the wind in your hair
the kiss of sunshine
the curve of a lip
the heat of a stranger’s gaze

vi.

The stories we tell ourselves
matter


Featured mage by Dani Géza from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “Things my mother taught me

  1. jenmierisch says:

    This was familiar and relatable from the very first line… even my feminist mom used to say this stuff. Stanza 3 gave me chills. I wanted some kind of transition between 3 and 4 to indicate the switch from “things my mom said” to the narrator’s own reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. innatejames says:

    The first and second stanza, or rather the leap between what adults tell children and what people say about teenage women is telling me a lot about the narrator’s POV here. And I love that you bring the unsaid up again.

    Liked by 1 person

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