She wondered why girls commit wars on the surface of each other’s backs.
Their giggling from afar, behind, a determined noose.
The torment is not a thing dangling.
As she sits there and clenches her teeth together.
But they are microscopic readers, detecting her blushed cheeks, the submission.
Her readiness to accept pain, how familiar she is with it.
And yet their imagination only takes them so far.
From one trap to another, will someone let her go eventually?
When girls need to stick together the most they are the cruellest.
When girls take out the daggers they make sure to hit the spot.
Nothing has ever been so pointy. They harpoon her as she cleans her wounds.
Whichever way she moves she stands exposed and doesn’t dare to say a word.
Then she understands, it’s in her own blood, the misogyny, the assumed weakness.
The hierarchy. The struggle, if they would only stop playing the same old game.
Sometimes she wishes they would use fists instead of words.
It would take less time to recover.
When she comes home and hears the same litany again,
She covers her ears and lets herself sink in.
She grabs what’s been broken by vile words and rebuilds her fortress,
Spinning the misery into accomplishment and reconfiguration.
“A girl wearing a garland-of wild roses” by George Lawrence Bulleid (1858-1933)