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Cure to Girlhood

Kal Hawley

I fake sleep in the back seat of the minivan. 

No hands come to carry me inside. 

My mother comments on the animal above my lips, 

I learn how to use razors without nicking myself.


My mirror is my reminder; my critic; my enemy. 

I get taught how to make it like me. 

An old man says Thai women are more beautiful than all others. I smile. 

He asks me how old I am. (Sixteen.) 

I’m ten, wonder if I’m dying, staring at red, 

My mother hands me toilet paper and tells me to not stain the sheets. 


Rows upon rows of bottles filled with 

unknown chemicals. The cure to my girlhood. 

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