Sit up, back straight, legs closed,

My aunt tells me.

Where are your manners?

Present yourself properly

for your cousins and family.

I roll my eyes and find

my brother was told to

wear jeans at church. No worries,

boys will be boys.


Grandma tells me to balance books

with heels, honor, emotions,

not to wear crop tops and tees.

At Target Dad tells me

Find a dress

down past your knees,

guys will run their

masturbating hands over your body.

Don’t allow them. I am property.

Boys will be boys.


Dancing around, oh how fun!

Darkness and sweaty bodies surround me.

Can’t wait to be cornered by your tongue.

Licking your lips, you’re preparing your charm.

You try to put hands down my pants,

my teeth holding hostage the chance

of talking between your sentences mostly

edged with your accomplishments, but oh,

boys will be boys.


I travel to the door, past the blasting speakers.

A boy smiles, gestures me forward.

He holds the door open

which is fine, thanks but

don’t expect anything back. I think.

It was a kind gesture, not me

to be rewarded, not a gateway ticket

to the ass you wanted for a snack. But

boys will be boys.


Fear of where what how when

something can happen

follows me daily.

I can’t walk peacefully alone in a nature valley

parkway, K-mart, café, my room.

There’s always a shadow touching me,

I run, slide my hands in my pocket with mace,

scared of the chase. Hands close in on me but,

boys will be boys.


Generation after generation

passed on and on the phrase

dismissing and diminishing its haze.

It’s grown up too long for toleration.

Times need changed, kiss goodbye the silence.

Us girls hold up our picket signs to our families.

Signs that say: no more,

boys will be boys.