Our girls walk with their hands in their pockets. Arms over bellies.
Slip through this city.
Stay soft, our girls are told. Stay quiet.
Our girls who drop their chins and gazes as they pass your boys.
Your boys who smile like they’ve never known sadness.
Heart beats rise as the light fades.
And your boys will never taste the fear our girls swallow each dusk.
Our girls walk quickly when they hear the shadows.
Pretend they’ve got someplace to be rather than something they’re running from.
Our girls smile when told to. With quiet eyes and soft lips.
As a delicate blade glides out of their pocket and so tenderly across your boys’ throats.
Stay soft, our girls whisper.
If your girls were strong enough they wouldn’t have to carry knives.
And if your boys were decent enough they wouldn’t have to use them.
Kate Berwanger lives in Seattle, Washington with 65 house plants. Her favorite day of the week is Monday.