spaghetti strap-sized scoldinggirls used to get sent home fortheir sunburnt shoulders why would we make it so easy to oglewhy would we make it so worth looking at how often were we taught thatsomeone else’s wandering gazewas our fault
you have more than questions that
need answers — you want to know
if the sun still shines on you, if the
jeans we purchased last year line
your curves without showing too much
and I stand there in front of
a seeking mirror watching you
watch yourself turn into this other
I trip on my tongue, forever lost
in finding the words that match
the situation. I want to write something instead,
but you are looking at me as I
fumble with my words in the air,
my lips — stuck in a temporary pause,
I utter, “I don’t know how to
tell you that nothing needs changing.”
I immediately get that this is
not the best response and again I
go searching for the right words while
you stare at this other woman
watching you watch her. The mirror
silence crowds the room — I part my
way back to you and offer another
response, one that could be better
than the last.
“Every pound is in its rightful place.
Even the moon is envious of you.
it wants to know why such a beautiful being
hides in the dark when she should be
outside lighting up the night.”
I’m no charmer, but you smile.
and my world shifts back into a safe space
because if you’re smiling — then everything’s
I watch you twirl around, pat your hip
with a quick slap, and flex your
heeled toes. You change your attire.
You model another outfit and
I flop my flimsy body down
on the bed. I am your audience.
the mirror invites you back . . .
you’ve wrapped your body
in a long, black dress. your naked shoulders
sing a somber tune.
slumped in front of this other woman,
you begin sizing up the inches of your waist.
I flit between clapping and throwing confetti.
my heart asks for an encore,
my tongue knows not to form the words.
still, you stand there. waiting for the other
woman to make you feel better
and I know that my words, applause,
confetti, charm, love, and analogies
carry no weight.
you are too busy attempting
to shed pounds — and the only
thing the other woman wants
you to do is notice that
she’s beautiful enough
to cause an envious moon.
Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium. The link shared is a friend link as this is a piece behind Medium’s paywall.
*“Take your time and your talent and figure out what you have to contribute to this world, and get over what the hell your butt looks like in those jeans!” — America Ferrera (Cosmo for Latinas in 2012)