Definitions

When you’re told you’re beautiful a thousand times over
At the same time that men keep cat-calling you
Even when you’re wearing jeans and a pullover
You realize that Beauty coexists with Malice
And that the latter is easier to believe

Because Beauty doesn’t have a face
It changes body size, skin color, and race
And it is difficult to believe that you are something
Whose definition keeps changing

But Malice is much clearer and more solid
You hear it in men’s whistles
And low whispers of “Cunt, let’s have it.”

You hear it in the way they ask you
Whether you’re heading home
But really hint at wanting to get you alone

You see it when they talk to you
But look you up and down like they have X-ray vision
That penetrates only the clothes that you’re wearing

You see it when they do a double-take to look at you
But focus their eyes on the neckline of your shirt
That they think is too low and could peep into

You feel it when they touch your knees under the table
After buying you one drink
As if that was enough permission

You feel it with their hands at the small of your back
Hands traveling downwards, set in a straight path
And they’re about as subtle as their erection

So the next time you want to reassure someone
And remind them that they matter
Don’t just call them beautiful

Take them out for a walk in the park
Buy them their favorite brand of candy
Thumb wrestle and maybe let them win

Ruffle their hair in the morning
Send a funny video of a puppy yawning
Sit with them through a scary movie
Through tears, through the pain of forgetting

Tell them that they are not locked drawers
Unlocked by the mere mention of the word beautiful
That their secrets are not always equal to scars

Tell them that they are not defined
By the sins that men have done to them
That their self-worth is not measured
By how little the same men look at them

Tell them that their character cannot be summed up in a word
And that their courage and heart take up more space than nine letters

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