What Nobody Knows

I felt inspired to write a kick-butt, read-me-aloud-to-a-room-full-of-feminists kind of poem after watching a video of April Ranger performing “South America Addresses Her Latest Conquistador.” It was extremely cathartic.

What nobody knows about ants
is how hard they are to get rid of. Set out vinegar
and sugar water and they’re gone for a day,
but then you’re buttering your toast and you find one
clinging stubbornly to the end of your knife.
Not unlike some men that I’ve known.
Why do guys think that texting you every – single – day
for a month will change your mind?
You, sir, are drunk, and no, I don’t want
to watch Netflix, I know it’s not Netflix
you have on your mind. But they keep coming back.
Like rashes like bruises under my knees
like boomerang don’t you hear me saying no?
I don’t want your attention this is not
real affection — sir, this is disrespect.
But even now I’m still calling you sir.
What kind of a shell do I live in, when I feel
like I have no right to get angry?
I’ve been with men who sang
so many odes to the skin of my legs
I forgot I had a heart, too. Now listen up —
I am the queen of a tall and curly country
and you forgot to bow when you walked in here.
Go on, I’ll wait. And while you’re at it,
learn to compliment something other than my appearance.
I am a living constellation of lessons learned,
hope and all the things that make me laugh
until I cry, but you will never know me
if all you look at is what you can get from me.
What no woman’s body knows
is the dignity of never being degraded.

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