[smile]

By: Jenuine Poetess

“c’mon baby, why don’t you smile?  just give me one smile!”

“hey mami, show me that pretty smile!”

walking down the street
i wear my fuckyou face
i learned to put it on
with the rest of my outfit
because wearing an open face
a friendly face
invites too much attention
no
walking the streets
taking the bus
existing while being female
has required a
different kind of face
one where i make my eyes go dead
and drain out all their light
i make people into ghosts
staring right through them
(some people take too many liberties
with eye contact)

i set my mouth hard
serious and unmoving

too soft
and they seem kissable
too warm
and people trespass

my smile is my secret weapon
it lights up rooms
changes moods
my smile is home to
those i love
and my home is not open
to everyone

my smile is my own
no one can demand it

i own the power that comes
with giving or
withholding my smile

they call me a bitch
in different languages
puta
whore
cunt
if it wouldn’t kill me
i’d laugh at their
fickle
changing
selves
in an instant of disobedience
their sweet and charming
becomes
a furious, venomous
snake

i have grown hard
but i rather be a
safe bitch
than a
sorry woman

i learned to harden my face
my features
places inside me
when i learned the price
i must pay
for owning soft curves
and for having the
audacity
to take up space in the world

for too long i had made myself
less
quiet
nothing

in the end
i rather relinquish
the softness of my smile
than any square inch
of my being