To The Girl Tired Of Being Called Pretty

If you prefer, I’ve plenty more steam rollers
tucked in my pockets, so pick one:

Smart—how nice, how
useful, how many mistakes can you make
before the long, flat stitches
of your body fall apart?

Brave—and strong, yes. This
will get you as far as your own legs
want to go, but take care.
When you’re lost in the dark, the slightest
trembling in your jaw might shatter
the narrow glass of your cookie-
cutter silhouette.

What do you think that means?
You are already—
but you think that I am wrong, that you are
only a slip of paper wide enough
for one word.

We could sit together, instead.
You could give me your hands—their
dimensional form, their lines and creases
and measured motion—and I will learn

of the mountains you’ve climbed
and the books you’ve worn out,
of the treasures you cradle and
thorns that you clutch,

you could give me your hands.
Then I would hold them tight
and tell you truth: your heart moves
life in loops and arches,
your eyes are endless seas,
and you belong

not rolled out thin on
cold pavement, but standing
on your solid feet
among the bowing hills.

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