You tell me that sometimes
your fingernails look like butchers’ knives, and your thighs, slabs of meat.
It makes me so sad that this girl sitting next to me
sees herself as nothing more than an animal carved to pieces
for greedy young men to eat.
Since when have women gone from living without a care,
never focusing on being fat or being thin,
to seeing ugliness lurk beneath their skin:
monsters that have claimed their lungs as their lair.
Demons like these have stained smiles since Moses
wrenched the seas apart, and locusts crawled through buildings
as easily as lust through men’s hearts.
And even when Jesus expelled spirits and raised the dead,
pretty young girls like Mary and Martha had poisonous thoughts
echoing through their pretty young heads.
But in this post-Biblical, post-postmodern age,
when everyone is into self-obsession and pointless outrage,
and we killed God with a little thing called apathy,
it’s hard to realise that wishing your skin would vaporise
is simply not okay.
Pretty girls with blue eyes & blonde hair
have always wished their body mass was insubstantial as air.
Biology classes told them they’re seventy eight percent water.
Maybe if they lie there and concentrate,
seventy eight percent of them will evaporate.
But if I had a daughter, I’d tell her that water moves
like starlight and illuminates the moonlight nestled deep inside of her.
I’d let her know that water wears away at mountains
and flows from fountains and that permanence is beautiful.
I’d tell her that we’re made of water and air, of creativity and hope,
and it’s the seemingly insurmountable thoughts
like self-loathing and depression that the water inside of us
will wear down like rubble.
But I have never given birth, and I look at you when you tell me
that nothing is as tempting as drowning yourself in the deep, blue sea.
You might think your skin is nothing but meat for the slaughter,
but I tell you now, like I’ll tell my daughter,
you’re so much more than just seventy eight percent water.