Learn Faster

By Anna Hurtado

She knew that she was pretty, 
With her ringlets and smooth skin, 
Her green eyes cast sultry beneath lashes 
Still she wore clashing colors and these strange 
Gold and red track shoes 
That had belonged to her mom 
She wore ripped jeans and pilly black tee-shirts 
Worn enough to show the training bras 
Her grandma had bought her 
from the Rack. 
Her friends accused her of wearing makeup, 
Pointing out her thick, dark lashes and 
Naturally groomed brows and her 
Flushed cheeks 
And she made it into 
A Thing 
That she didn’t 
It became important that she didn’t 
Being pretty was one thing but putting effort into one’s appearance 
Was another. 
She had been taught from dubious sources 
that Those Women 
Were not as self respecting, smart, 
As they should be. 
But then high school came around and 
She realized she was old enough 
To wear a crop top so she did, 
Bearing her slim bronze midriff 
To an appreciative world 
And it became a game. 
Can I get this boy to like me? 
How about this one? 
The answer was almost always 
Maybelline Waterproof Mascara 
In its pink bullet 
Made her lashes appear even longer 
And her eyes more dramatic 
Concealer hid the occasional zit and 
She liked to smooth metallic powder on her eyelids 
When it was a special occasion 
She forgot what it her eyes looked like without the waxy shellac
Of mascara. 
Eventually her body became especially curvy 
In places and 
Boys wanted to be close 
To those places 
She had her pick 
without really considering 
If she wanted any of those boys 
in the first place 
A boy with small hands 
Decides to make her his girlfriend 
Which she soon discovers 
Involves nothing but having 
Your pants reached into and your new underwear pushed aside
Without asking
While you are sitting next to him 
At a party with all your friends 
She can’t move and her mouth 
Is gone
All that’s left behind are lips 
Glossed hopefully in light pink
completely useless 
Except for as pleasure for another person 
Her body quickly learns the art of 
Staying very still and hoping 
That it’ll be over quickly.

“This poem is referencing something I think that a lot of female presenting people have to deal with as they grow up; the dangers of being wanted and how scary it can be. Most of my work revolves around my experience as a woman and about femininity.” – Anna Hurtado

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