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Such a Pretty Girl

Such a pretty girl.
Wide youthful eyes look up towards them with adoration;
Waiting for praise, begging for recognition.
Waiting to hear the four words,
The four words that validate her as a dancer, a fairy, a princess of some faraway kingdom.
The words that make her her.
Such a pretty girl.


Such a pretty girl.
First day of third grade, brand-new clothes and shoes.
Small backpack over her shoulders, a wide smile with one wiggly tooth.
Standing still for Daddy’s photograph.
Snap! The camera’s flash makes her squint and grimace for a moment,
But then she goes back to smiling, because she always wants to be
Such a pretty girl.


Such a pretty girl.
Middle school classmates whisper as she strides down the hall.
A compliment? Maybe;
Or maybe stemming from bitter jealousy.
Nevertheless, she glances side to side and walks a little slower.
Ashamed at the envy of others who have also been told they are
Such a pretty girl.


Such a pretty girl.
Her maturing face glows with the faint touches of makeup.
A shimmering dress wraps around her body, perfect for prom.
A boy brushes the small of her back; she hears him say it.
Now she knows all this dress-up is not for naught.
On the dance floor, his validation gives her energy.
Such a pretty girl.


Such a pretty girl.
He runs his gentle hands through her long messy hair,
She laughs and jokes that she isn’t.
I’m just wearing sweatpants!
It doesn’t matter, he says.
Your heart is pretty. I love you.
Such a pretty girl.


Such a pretty girl.
Wide youthful eyes look up towards her with adoration;
Her own daughter, fragile to the words of the world.
What impact will they have?
Will her daughter grow up a princess? Or strong?
Looking down at her beautiful innocence, she parts her lips to say,
Such an incredible, beautiful, determined, unbreakable girl.




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