Bambi Bones

The day I turned 16,

I wrote all my expectations on little slips of paper,

tied them to legs of doves,

and released them.

 

I kept trying to get to empty,

but I was full to the brim with womanhood.

 

I lit candles with my tears and soon the whole room smelt of disappointment.

 

Ancient, angry tribes of Indian warrior queens would not let me be.

They danced in my ear screaming

"You are not slain!

Stand up and be woman!"

I called them all liars and went back to bed.

 

There are parts of me I can't put make-up on.

I can't dress up weakness and unnecessary aggression

in pale pink and teal hues.

I can't make my vagina not a vagina

but god I hope it's more than just a pussy.

There is ugly here,

and sooner or later they all smell it.

 

It's funny how you can be too feminine

or not feminine enough

and the sharks will still come for your blood.

 

There are people in my life who have pinched my eyeballs purple.

Blurred vision and bruising,

I never know where I'm going.

 

How do you woman?

How do you Barbie doll and bad bitch?

How do you innocent virgin in the eyes and naughty slut in the mouth?

 

One time when I was 14, I passed for 22.

Now I'm halfway there, barely 18

all bambi bones and big ol bambi eyes

naive hips and lips and a baby smile.

Trying not to let my wobbly legs shake,

still learning to be a big girl.

 

They taught me how to please a man,

how to reduce belly fat, eradicate acne.

They taught me how to tell a

good woman from a bad one.

But they never taught me how to say no.

My mouth still shrinks from the strength of that word.

They never taught me how to feel love

so now when a chauvinist drops some chivalry, my heart still skips a beat.

 

How do you domestic?

Honestly I still have a hard time taking hot things out of the microwave.

How do you domestic?

When it turns out he doesn’t want a wife, just a pet.

How do you domestic?

My body will never be strong enough

to be the consequences of someone's misplaced anger.

No one should ever have to be strong enough for that.

 

Since day one, they’ve been teaching me that the

heart of a man beats like a lion’s.

I’ve learned I must dance to it, live for it.

I’ve learned how to feel his hot breath at my neck and call it romance.

I’ve learned there will be a day when his teeth meet flesh,

sink down to gorge on bambi bones with relish.

When this day comes, I must learn to close my eyes and enjoy the consumption.

 

I don’t know if that’s the kind of woman I want to be.

I haven’t quite figured out what it means

to be so soft,

constantly watched,

to understand all their expectations and then fail beautifully.

 

I’m just a baby,

 

a scared girl learning to be woman.

There is a tornado of expectations rattling in my chest

telling me

I must first learn

to be.

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