a girl's first words

there are words in my mouth disguised as sugar and honey.

they roll off my tongue in a delicate routine i’ve preformed my whole life

tasting like arsenic as they burn my tongue and throat.

i don’t remember where these words came from, 

but they have crawled up my throat and pushed through my lips before I can stop them.


there are words in my mouth that cannot escape,

stuck in a dark prison behind pearly white doors that refuse to open.

i wonder where they would fly if let free, 

where they would soar and who they would touch.


there are words in my mouth that have found a loophole,

traveling through tortured landscapes to reach shaking hands that act as their bridge.

paper offers an escape, but only temporarily.

these words now find themselves trapped in an inky darkness as they are shoved into the depths of some quiet place whose only release is on Wednesday when the trash is picked up.


there are words in my mouth, but they aren’t my words.

they are your words and you put them there,

planted them in my newborn mind and nurtured them until your words became my words and my words became trapped.


sit up girl, chin up girl.

smile at the nice man with the good job.

keep your words locked away while mine do the talking. 

back straight girl, chest up girl,

show a little neck and a little shoulder (you know how much they love shoulders).

and when its dark and no one is looking

make sure you drink his words,

gulp his safe, possessive, lonely words.

you might choke on their stench, you might gag as they try to crawl down your throat

but don’t worry girl, it won’t hurt forever. 

and one day you’ll be teaching these same words to your daughter.

smile girl, be happy girl.

his words are going to take care of you girl. 

This poem is about: 
Our world


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