W A R , and unlearning how to bleed glitter

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I am not the first to fight this legacy war,

passed down from my mother.

I have been drafted unwillingly, underage.

 

My dad’s friends used to tell him, “Oh, Rich, you’ll have

to beat the boys off her.” ( They mean, “Oh, but she’ll

be a warrior.” ) I was four years old when older men

decided I was too pretty to be a person, and made me

into a t h i n g instead.

 

I was thirteen when I saw my first taste of battle.

My first attack was a shout from a passing car,

a “damn, baby,” and my shield was made of

a glare, a middle finger, and a hiss of “fuck you,

that turned to a H O W L in time with war drums.

 

When I was fourteen I lost my first soldier, when

Caitlin called me crying, she told me her body ached

her lips were bruised the salt rain had stripped her bare

and she was beautiful, that’s what they told her,

you should have seen her that night, all torn up

with his k i s s  in her mouth.

 

Then they started telling us about innocence,

about purity and about how ruined she was, how

we all were, we all are; they would press knives

through our lace, skin & MUSCLE, and call us filthy

for all the b l o o d .

 

It lights up with a s p a r k and burns us at the stake,

Disney’s photoshopped unscarred princesses gaslight

us all—until we believe in pretty, c l e a n , pristine,

until the broken glass on our lips glitters like sugar,

so that we might sweeten our smiles, soften our

shouts and submit to our slaughter.

 

Starved, choked, beaten broken and bent out of shape,

and would you call a veteran “baby”?

Would you call a survivor nice tits” or “great ass

or “hey mama”?

 

We are not ‘cute’, not even in pink, silk, and eyeliner

we are c a s u a l t i e s taking up unapologetic space;

scars, diamonds, body hair, lipstick, tampons.

 

My war is a girl’s war, my weapons are words, I am H U M A N,

and I will not be the last.

This poem is about: 
Me
My country
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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