Tag Archives: women’s rights

St. Patrick’s Day

There was a party
I went to when I was sixteen
at a stranger’s house
– friend-of-a-friend’s friend –
and for the first few hours
it was a warm, golden glow
a happy and tipsy paradise
of adolescence
and cheap alcohol.
But the clock struck
a sixth or eighth or tenth drink
and stranger’s hands
– friend-of-a-friend’s hands –
bruised my flesh
so I used cheap excuses and beer
as crutches to lean on
when they reached out
a sixth or eighth or tenth time
from a third or fourth or fifth boy
whose names I couldn’t even remember.
I never said “no”;
the thought turns my skin pink
where there fingerprints
once touched me;
but I never said “yes” either,
never invited strangers
– friend-of-a-friend’s whatever –
to invade my precious
personal fucking space
and this thought
turns the boiling blood surging through my body
into a future of
abhorring alcohol
and staying home.
I wondered that night
as I threw up
my eleventh drink
whose fault it had been
and not knowing where to throw my hatred
it shadowed me
and I kept silent about it
but oh yes,
it happened to
me too.

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Girl, Unwanted

They told me
at age four
that I could be whatever I wanted to be
and without knowing how to read
the fine print of that statement,
I believed them.

They asked me
at age ten
what my favourite colour was
and I was ashamed to say pink
so I filled my mouth with every colour of the rainbow
to sweeten the taste of my lie.

They told me
at age thirteen
that I should be grateful
men three times my age whistled at me from cars
like a dog –
it was a compliment
wearing a frightening mask.

They asked me
at age sixteen
on first dates:
are you a tomboy or a girly girl?
As if there wasn’t a million other in-between people
I could have been.

They asked me
at age nineteen
if I was “like other girls”
and I flipped my hair and told them proudly,
guiltily, as I betrayed my sisters,
that no, I was not.

They tell me now,
at age twenty-two,
that I can still be whatever I want to be,
but all I can do
is choke on my anger
and hope one day I never have to regurgitate that lie
to my daughters.