for girlhood

There’s a tradition of boy measuring its proximity to man by
the bodies of girls forced to become women too soon,
indentured teachers of the sons they bore,
the brothers they loved,
vessels for their not always unintentional mistakes.

There’s a tradition of girl measuring its proximity to woman by
the suns until the womb sheds itself to make room for our meaning,
the moons spent truly dreaming,
the days before we are taught that we should learn to enjoy violence,
Because it is how boy communicates.
Because it is the only way boy learns to speak.
Because it is the only way boy will want to speak to us.
And boy must speak to us.

Because, without boy, man learns to hunt the girls who insist on themselves.
And girl,
now woman,
Or dead,
Must apologize to tradition.
Must pay with her youth,
Her mind,
Her career,
Her body.

Because there is no yet tradition of girl surviving without asking boy first.

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