A Poem for Girls Far and Wide

Rossi Anastopoulo

This is how you run into the ocean with you arms held wide; when you feel like singing, open your mouth and let out a song; this is how you swing a tennis racket, shoot a basketball, sprint hard as you can; this is how you roll out the cookie dough; if you want to play a game, all you have to do is ask; this is how you hold your little sister (make sure you support her neck); don’t read while you’re walking, you might run into something or someone; if you’re going to do something, do the best you can the first time around; do you know what the word initiative is? take it; this is how you pronounce your Greek name, it’s your real name you know, and don’t you forget it; this is how you speak up for yourself, and this is how you listen; don’t let guilt hold you back, nobody is perfect and neither are you; this is how much we love you, and it’s more than you can ever know.

 

This is how you’re supposed look; why are your thighs so thick and your hair so curly—but what if my thighs help me run fast, and I have my father’s hair?—don’t eat fat, or carbs, or sugar, or food; listen to me, I have an idea; you couldn’t possibly know all that about sports, you don’t have a dick; this is how you avoid walking by yourself, or dressing to attract attention, and this is how you use one hand to hold your phone at the ready and the other one to turn your keys into a pitiful little excuse for a knife; you look pretty, I’m going to make sure I tell you when you walk by, or come up and start dancing on you, or grab your ass while you walk past; this is how you appreciate the fact that I won’t curse around you like all of the other employees because you might get offended; this is how you avoid getting pregnant; this is how you find a boyfriend; this is how you keep a boyfriend; this is how you land a husband and avoid the hell that is a life of singledom; this is what you can’t do and this is what you can, and if you have a problem with that then shut the fuck up because we probably won’t listen to you anyway.

Inspired by "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid