You’re a woman, shrunk like a jitterbug
in damp soil, dancing up leaves for sleep.
Wash away the crooked eyelashes
clinging to your damp cheek.
You hurt like bruised fruit left in shade.
You let your bones creak
more with every step
toward a stranger’s bed.
You’ve been taught that you were made
Whistle through the gaps of your mouth; quiver.
Soak your skin in milk
to get rid of your South
and become a compass.
Learn the directions your body chooses
in broad daylight and observe
which way it turns
and why it ticks and how it moves.
Indulge the vegetables your mother picks
at dawn, before the dogs and the sun
and the husband wake and whine
Let the mosquitoes
tear open your skin
and create circles of pink.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.