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Naw, see, a woman is not a sex organ.

She is not determined by the swell & ebb

of her breasts, the pinch of her waist,

the tide of her hips or the surge of her thighs.

She is rose-petal skin & musk & lips

that crumble if you press too hard

& eyes so infinite Poseidon can’t help

sinking. She is also the sum of hardworking cells

& ambitions & doubts & fears &

passions just as a human should be.

 

She is brilliant before beautiful,

strong before sensual.

 

She is Angela’s gap-toothed radiance,

Frida’s “i-couldn’t-give-a-fuck-if-i-tried,

& no, I am not shaving my eyebrows” attitude,

bell hooks’ coy smile, always cherry-red & daring.

She is the college student, prison inmate,

soldier, who did not “ask” for it.

the unmasked black eye

the head held high

the hips & thighs & butt so wide

the ground shakes with her

pride—a woman

 

who knows how to say no

who loves every dimple in her skin

whose stretch-marks are as moving

& necessary & mighty as tree-bark scars

who loves deeply & selectively

who knows she is a queen

who reads & learns & speaks

without apologizing for her intelligence

who never lets beauty ideals dictate her desires,

never downplays her significance,

& never lets her sisters forget their worth. 

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