and to all the little girls
On the day your mother announced you would be entering this world, everyone began to fuss over pink or blue blankets. No one
wondered if you would become a philosopher or if
you would remember to hold the door open for the people behind you. Somehow everyone already knew that the color of the cloth that kept you warm at night would determine your path.
In kindergarten you were taught to sit with your legs shut tight,
even though you felt more comfortable with your knees facing outwards. When Andrew took a too-big sip of soda and released a disruptive belch everyone laughed, including the teacher; but when you burped
nobody thought you were funny.
Under your picture in the fourth grade yearbook, you wrote
that your dream job was to write and illustrate novels, to spill your guts on the page and soak them up in inky color. But Sean thought
your dream was dumb because the only good books are written by men and girls can’t even have a job because they’re supposed be moms.
When you turned thirteen, the boys in social studies paid
more attention to the size of your chest than the bill of rights, and
Mr. Turner didn’t understand what the harm in it was, but how were you supposed to focus on class when you were trying to avoid their stares
and teach yourself how to wear the blood on your underwear like warpaint.
In the twelfth grade they did not send you to the principal’s office
to receive praise for your straight As, or condolences when your grandma died and your friend killed himself in the same month. But they did send you
to apologize to your principal for showing midriff on a hot April afternoon.
When you turned twenty, you were raped, but
how could you step forward and confess when
this nation would rather elect your abuser to office than a woman.
let us not grow weary let us not lose heart