We’ve been taught to live life

on defense, told to mistrust our sisters

and defer to our doubt. When things

go wrong, the fault is always,


Perfection is the asymptote our mothers

unconsciously yearn for, sharing

the ache with us, spreading its pull until

we too fall to chase this futile dream of



Love is possession and trepidation

and chewed lips. We learn to dance when

we’re young, the unspoken test we

force on ourselves, just to say we’re



We march in solidarity and exclude

in the fine print, still on the defense.

Behind closed doors the real game is played,

where there’s only room for one opinion,



Our cold war is internal, written in

subtext, in color, in the margins

of history books our daughters

read, still being told that the future is


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