Girls Bite Back


“don’t walk home alone,” they say. “text me
when you get back home,” they say. “ask him
to walk you back,” they say. be safe, be safe,
be careful. don’t walk outside by yourself
at night. watch for danger, for signs of danger,
for people reeking of danger.
they say, “don’t wear a shirt too tight. don’t
wear revealing clothes.”
because even with your teeth and claws
and defiance and roar,
a girl like you can’t keep them
off your body,
those eyes, hands
off your body —
your body
like an offering
unintended, too good
for godless eyes.
keep your eyes open —
peeled open the way the sky stretches
the lungs, backbone, torso of the moon
wider and rounder every night,
making her watch the dark beneath
and all around her.
yes, be careful, watch for danger,
keep your eyes open, but don’t forget —
you are strong. you are stronger
than you think. you are not weak.
the world has this unspoken
and ruthless desire
to ruin anything good.
this is why many men
have grown into monsters
over the centuries,
forgetting they were born
to defend their sisters
from the very dragons
they have become —
thinking they were gods
with their cowardly
perversion of power
and forsaking their own
fierce, good
but we,
have not forgotten our tender.
we, i, you
need to stand together,
shoulders back,
head held high,
because the thunder
of our heartbeats
makes the entire ground
emancipate men’s lionhearted goodness
left hidden under cobwebs
in their grandmother’s attic.
make them remember
that they have love and honesty
inside their veins,
strength much brighter,
more golden
than any godless,
at power.
show them that
they are never entitled
to a woman’s body
just because they can see it.
tell them to
grow the fuck up
because a woman’s body
is not up for the taking — we
are not their toys to grab
and molest
to satisfy their
show them that
just because you’re a girl
doesn’t mean they have the right
to hunt, touch, map
your holy body.
show them.
be whoever you want to be,
wear whatever you want to wear —
high heels, black dress, red lips,
nails sharpened
like knives —
walk wherever you want to walk,
but most of all,
show them that