They will call you beautiful like the first I love you, like the first kiss, like the first corner you find yourself backed into, like the first time he finds himself in a room alone with you.

They will call your smile like they hold it in the palm of their hand like trainers hold birds of prey on their shoulder, like they have filed down your talons and teeth.

They call you skin.

They will call you eve and apple and snake.

They will call you sin.

They will call you rib.

They will call you part of them.

They will call you woman.

They will call you mother like the body they want to crawl back up in.

They will call you reproduction, instinct, survival.

They will call you howls and hisses and grunts.

They will call you sex.

They will call you back alleyways and dingy motel rooms.

They will call you pay per hour.

They will call you woman.

I do not remember when beautiful became a brothel,

where it’s acceptable to love everyone but yourself.

The word beautiful will wrap itself around your throat like the pearl necklace he didn’t buy with you in mind, like the silk necktie you wear that night anyway.

Like a noose.

Like your legs look damn fine dangling off the banister.

They will call you thighs, ass, and hamstrings.

They will call you knees.

They will call you kneeling.

They will call you bowed back, curled spine.

They will call you woman.

You have been taught to bend instead of break.

They will call you flexible.

They will call you curves, like something to be rolled over.

They will call you thin, like something to be pressed against a wall

They pinned you on the wall and named you masterpiece so

They will call you slut and you will take it as a compliment.

They will call you virgin and you will wear it like a scarlet A.

They will call that an excuse, an invitation.

And all you will hear is that you were irresistible. You were worth it.

They will call you worth your weight in skin

They call you the length of your skirt.

They will call you bitch

They will call you witch

They will call you woman.

It’s getting hard to wash street corner compliments out of your hair. They are imbedded in your skin and picking at them is like picking at scabs and soon the scars are the only way you can tell your body from the next.

They will call you body like nobody like anybody, like the somebody you could become if only you come when they call.

They will call you nothing at all.

They will call you broken.

They will call you unwhole.

They will call you all of your holes.

They will call you empty, fillable, like a gas station cup of a pothole.

You will remember that humans are cavernous creatures and you will feel hollow and barren and desolate and you will walk down the street in search of someone who can make you feel full because self-love can only go so far when you have no self to love.

They will call you everything but your name.

They will call you woman.