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i pretended

it was funny when my boss

told me i looked

good on my knees,

i was sixteen.

i pretended to brush

it off when

my brother called me

the b-word and then

the c-word when

i told him to stop teasing me.

i remember crying desperately –

wanting to make those

words my own –

claim them as my armor

and remind myself

i am strong

when i get told

you can’t be the boss

wait for someone to carry that for you

I don’t hire girls for this type of work.

my eyes peer in the mirror,

hung behind my bedroom door

smeared with fingerprints,

at my stretch marks squeezing

above the band of my first pair of

victoria’s secret underwear,

remembering when i learned

to hate my body.

i had just turned nine

started my first diet and

stayed on it for some

15 years now to

only keep failing.

i see reflected against the smears

that one sixty-something

year old man who put a dollar under the strap of my

pink target brand training bra

in front of my grandfather

and told me to keep it like that,

so i could make some money and

boys liked that kind of thing anyways.

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