I have eclipsed the age at which my mother became pregnant with me,
eclipsed even more so the age at which she lost her virginity.
I am twenty-eight,
and yet still look like a thirteen-year-old girl entering puberty.
So when men proposition me—
when men my father’s age stare too long at me—
I wonder who they are asking for—
the thirteen-year-old with skin leathered by days spent drenched in sun
and hardened by sidewalk scrapes;
the twenty-eight-year-old hospitalized twice for being suicidal—
whose layers of distrust have become stratified with age?
I may have thought too much as a child,
I may have been an old soul in a ripe body,
but I did not know then what I do now.
I did not know that answers are only coveted by the coward.
And so I stand in line,
waiting to buy an overpriced cup of coffee
that I came to buy only so that I could stand beside
beautiful people and feel desirable by proxy.
I do not turn around.
I let them stare at my ass,
let them wonder of the smell of the
skin lining my collar bone,
of the softness not of my lips
but of my inexperienced tongue.
And there is nothing I can do.
Because what do you say to someone who wants to fuck a child?
You can say nothing.
Words do not capture the moment.
And so it passes…
and you progress toward the front of the line.
I wonder about you. I do not want you, but I wonder what it would be like to. I imagine grazing your shoulder with the tip of my nose to smell your skin—the smell beneath your perfume. Why do you wear it? I hate it.
I wonder, what does your father look like? Does he smile often? Does he…
The salt of my neck,
the confidence of my mouth,
the tip of my nose as I drag it
slowly across your chest.
Hair that I washed twice
just to make sure you’d remember
I’ll show you how to own someone.
I’ll make you forget that my body never
quivers beneath yours,