Like A Woman- Izabelle Preznik

Poem By various poets

pretty little baby
breaks the surface of a big blue pool
water cascading down her white swimming suit
in tiny torrents of sunlight dew
she's putting on a show for them

their scaly snouts sit above the surface of the pool
their heavily lidded eyes watch her hungrily

she hates her curves
she hates her hips
like fruit ripening with risk
like fish pulling her toward choppy tides

she is told she should behave a certain way now
like a woman

she donates her boyshorts to goodwill
along with her bicycle helmet, her plastic dinosaurs and her converse shoes

she bleaches her hair
she glosses her lips
she slathers herself in bain de solie
lying in the sun like a sugar-coated ham
the crocodiles are watching her and they are starving

she flicks through her camera
deleting photos of herself she doesn't like
telling herself "you are not enough"
and she feeds herself to the crocodiles

but why?
human beings are not a species who sit idly in the water
it is not within our nature to submit ourselves as prey

she was taught this
you mustn't blame her
it wasn't her fault
she was told to behave a certain way
like a woman

who lies flat
while bacteria laden teeth feast upon her flesh
infecting her with hate
confirming her belief that she is not enough

but one day
pretty little baby breaks the surface of a big blue pool
shaking off the crocodiles
and planting herself on land
where she will grow like a winter flower
despite defeating elements

and she will learn to love her curves
for they nourish her child
and she will learn to love her hips
for they cradled her womb
while her child grew within it

and she will learn that those crocodiles are never satiated
while she is ever full

and she will tell her daughter
"pretty little baby
I have raised you like a woman
far from the water
far from the starving
and when you see the crocodiles
you will come to your mother
and we will laugh at them'

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