Ode to a Nice Guy

He tells me to smile, says my dimples

are more pronounced when I close my mouth.

My stomach sinks when I think about how,

from now on, I’m going to open my mouth,

let my coffee-stained teeth shine- strengthen

my spine to not bend at the whim of a man again.

 

No one gets to define what makes me

beautiful because only I will have to live

with the consequences of careless words,

what he defines as a compliment that,

in retrospect, makes me feel like an ornament

he wants to perfect to his own liking.

 

But I am more than the sum total of the

dimples on my cheeks or the angry, red

streaks that mar my thighs, or the “compliments”

of a nice guy. I am more than outward appearances,

sexual experiences, or the clearances society allows me

because all I have left is my sanity and my ability

 

to say, “no.”

 

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