She’s the kind of girl who loves horror movies.

Every time a new one premiers, she promises to be first in line.

She’s the kind of girl who wants to jump from a plane,

And see the beauty of sharks up close.

Things like these don’t scare her;

Do you want to know what does?

She’s scared of the boys she went to elementary school with,

The ones who pushed her off the monkey bars at recess

And knocked out both of her front teeth.

“He’s only mean because he likes you,”

That’s what they told her.

She wonders if they grew up to be the kind of men

Who’ve equated love with fist fights and whispered apologies.

She’s scared of the boys who are fluent in catcalling,

Their “compliments” raining down on her like machine gun fire.

These are the boys who get to be boys

While she’s too afraid to walk across campus in the dark.

She clutches her keys between her fingers like a lifeline,

Pointy side up, just in case

She thinks maybe she’ll take that self-defense class after all.

She’s afraid of the business major boys,

The ones who won’t take no for an answer.

These are the boys who have been taught to conquer,

To relish the challenge.

She is neither a challenge nor a thing to be conquered;

Her body is not theirs to lay claim to.

Still, she knows they’ll try.

She’s afraid of the boys in groups,

Loud and boisterous with big laughs and big-bad-wolf smiles.

They’ve learned to fill rooms and take up space

While she’s learned to fold when they are nearby,

Tucking in at the corners until she’s all but disappeared.

There’s no space for her here

They’ve made sure of that.

She’s the kind of girl who loves horror movies;

Scary stories were always here favorite as a child.

Once, her mother asked her why

And so, she said:

“None of the monsters Hollywood creates

Could ever be more terrifying than the real ones next door.”

 

Edited by: Sarina Loftus

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