Chris Murray, Smith College, Massachusetts, United States
My mother always told me
I hurt because there are worlds inside of me
waging wars with each other.
Make sure you’re the leader
of your own body, she said.
Kill anyone that tells you love makes women weak,
it makes us warriors.
She has always known what it means
to be a warrior,
stands up straight
so her spine looks stronger
than it is.
My mother told me bedtime stories
about all the men that tried to break her,
ending each one with:
it’s okay, there is a reason hurricanes are named after women.
My mother told me
the first time I cried for you,
all cracked lips
from the drought inside my mouth,
the world will make sure
my body is only seen as a time-bomb
waiting to make men explode,
she told me
to make sure they tell you you’re
they are the inventors of the bomb,
they think destruction is beautiful, baby,
they will try to destroy you.
But women only have “fragile” bones
so we can grow taller after they are broken,
only have penetrable skin
so we can take everything in
and learn all the weaknesses of the world,
we were monsters long before you
romanticized the idea of men as monster,
we will destroy you.
We are warriors,
waging wars with you
have been turning our insides
into metal for years.