i plastered between my breasts to hide the parts that protrude
because you told me i was too passionate as a girl,
for a girl.
my edges too rough, my jagged lines too cutting—
my shoulders too broad, my laugh too loud.
“you sit with your legs spread—on the ground, on the dirt, don’t you care you’re wearing a skirt?”
So i learned to cover my girlish ways:
i padded down opinions,
i sanded down my fingerprints.
i apologized for the space i took—
i bound my legs with tighter skirts,
i strangled them in tulle,
embellished them with gemstones of docility.
Where is my passion now?
What is sharp enough to cut through the noise?

Where do they welcome bodies unbound?
Care instructions say,
“to be a woman, wash in warm water, peel away what fear
enveloped her

and reveal those girlish ways—dry in open air”
I no longer cover my mouth to laugh
Or the curves around my waist
I touch everything with my naked hands to impress my fingerprints at the scene
I peel back the plaster between my breasts
Because I am not afraid to be a woman
With her girlish ways.

Photography: Amanda Kho
Earrings (in order of appearance): Ellery, Dinosaur Designs, Sophie Buhai
Lingerie: Pansy
Blue dress: Molly Goddard
Turtleneck: Kwaidan Editions
Skirt: Kwaidan Editions
Glasses: Gucci
Shoes: Balenciaga
Chair: Stellar Works
Bodysuit: Atelier Harlem

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