Love Letter to My Body

By: Anonymous

when he told me
my long legs would
look really good
if I just lost some weight
and maybe I should join the
volley ball team
I made a silent pact with myself
to not get thinner

when he told me
my face would be so pretty
if I would just lay off the snacks
I began sneaking food

when he told me
my body would look nice
in a two-piece
if I’d only put in the effort
I made it my mission to keep
my belly soft and round

when he told me
if I just wore some make up
took some care with my hair
maybe the boys would date me
I opted for neatly tucked
hair buns and
non-glossy chapstick

because you see
when a wolf reveals
his preferences
savvy prey
disappears herself

I don’t know how I knew
at thirteen
to read between the lines
how to translate the language
he was speaking
into:
“cover up”
“blend in”
“stay plain”
“do not attract attention”
“your generous curves and ample figure are your armor”

I don’t know
how I knew
to know these things

it didn’t happen
until my blood came

a changing body
a newly cycling self
a gaping wound
maybe that is why–
my bleeding drew him

maybe he wanted to mark his territory
stake his claim on
my blooming breasts
be the first to
taste my waters

in scoffing snarls
his eyes mocked
when I recoiled from
his arrogant displays
his greedy grooming

some girls dreamed of
dates and dances
I carefully constructed escape plans
defense plans
take-all-my-poems-and-run-through-the-night
plans

some kids wish for
outfits, cute shoes,
shopping sprees at the mall
I hoped someone would
kidnap me
on the walk to school
heart pounding at every
car that slowed
thinking
“maybe THIS will be my liberation”

because when home is an
unwakeable nightmare
the worst things imaginable
seem entirely manageable

because when home is a
snake pit
anywhere else feels
safe

because when home is a
palpable darkness
cold with a calculated cruelty
even hell’s flickering light
seems inviting
warm