The Girl

A Poem

By Laura Thurlow


I have been at war, that is
With bones and skin since
The hour of my birth perhaps more like
My eleventh birthday
And I don’t think that will change
I don’t think there is a treaty you
Could sign to give me back the
Homeland that I need
I think self-love is a myth they sell you
For the price of one pink razor or
A lifetime’s worth of drops of AHA
To burn away the rougher bits
I don’t think that I will ever
Cease in the desire to burn away, those
Rougher bits, the rest can go along with it
There are no spoils to this
Sometimes I think I have the larger army
That I don’t care about how much of me this kills
I’ll send my forces, still outmatched
To die on soggy fields
To freeze out in the winter
To starve, to eat themselves
I think self-love is a myth they sell you
For the price of tote bags for
A meditation app subscription
Monthly bills
I beg you, still
Pillage me. Leave me with nothing, if you can.
I can’t be trusted with this fire
Can’t be left alone in a room with myself
I have been at war, so long that
No one can remember why and
Men in powdered wigs dissect me try
To figure out which fuse it was that snapped up
Into flame, try to place it on a day perhaps it was
My eleventh birthday
Which I can still recall
An ugly girl in a blue swimsuit
Freckles, brassy hair I still
Am yet to kill her.