Alice heard it when she was nine.
Joseph had said,
after Michael kissed her behind the sliding board.
The word rolled off of Joseph’s tongue maliciously,
Like a snake,
prodding Alice with its lacerate consonant sounds.
Slut. Slut. Slut.
At sixteen, Alice heard the word again. This time, Rachel said it.
Yesterday Rachel and Alice were best friends.
“Don’t flirt with my boyfriend, whore.”
A magazine advises Rachel what is sexy.
Blonde & brunette & white & collarbones.
“This is beauty,” it read.
A skipped meal & a sock stuffed in her bra.
…Rachel felt ugly.
Rachel told Leanne she needs a boyfriend.
“So you’re not a dyke.”
& Leanne met Todd.
“But don’t be a slut,” Jessica told Leanne.
So Leanne wasn’t.
& Todd left Leanne.
Todd told his friends.
Then Jessica met Ryan.
Ryan kissed her & Jessica
Ryan laid her down so Jessica
Felt his warmth on her.
But Ryan ran away when Jessica’s belly swelled.
“You’re only seventeen, you can’t have a baby.”
“You can’t have an abortion, baby killer.”
Nurse Melissa delivered baby Chloe.
Makes eighty on the dollar.
…Complains only to herself.
Jessica can’t afford the hospital bills.
Chloe grows into an objectified body.
“Hey baby. Hey sexy.”
“Nice legs. Nice ass.”
It’s not rape if you’re drunk.
& Here we are,
Daughter, Friend, Lady America,
Where bitch is an acceptable sisterly word.
You can do twice the work
…for a fraction of the success.
Reproductive rights have become reproductive wrongs.
Hillary Clinton is emotional.
Michelle Obama is fat.
Pelosi can’t make up her damn mind.
“Did you see what she wore?”