For My Teenage Sister / by grace mcgrade

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may you collect things

may you keep them in a box at the foot of your bed

may you collect things like you collected chapsticks and slime

things like love notes, pairs of headphones with broken buds

rips in your clothes,

mismatched socks and crushes’ hugs

blood stained sheets and brave new looks

that you wear out,

as armor

collect them and hide them behind piles of clothes and heaps of textbooks

and only share them,

when you are ready.


may you see what i see,

and not what you are told to see

yes, you are draping limbs and clamoring bones, knocking together like wind chimes

you are doe eyed, with eyes that borrowed from the sea

freckled like glitter and extending up, up, up to the sky

because that is where us girls, are from.

you are cities of dividing cells and

fractals of ever shifting



you do not need to pretend to be shy

you do not need to make yourself smaller

you do not need to make yourself less


may you never quiet your voice, your dreams,

your rule breaking, your music

or your hair,

may you learn to ignore your teachers red pen

may you learn to ignore ignorant men


may you hold on to your rage while it is tangible

and slam doors and kick walls

whine and scream into your pillow

scream for the girls,

scream for the women

your rage is your magic

and it will get shit done


may you pass this daunting threshold with ease,

may your dressing table become your altar

may you know that you are both girl and woman,

may you keep your fairy tales and wishes

and choose to believe in your own myth


may you fall in love and fall apart

and fall back in love again

may your room become your castle

may you enjoy the sweetness of your solitude

may you learn that within you is a vault

a crystal cave

of strength and healing power belonging only to you

a stumbled upon superpower

and only to be unlocked by you

as is the same for any woman.


may you still always be covered in a little bit of dirt

may you remain untamed

may you remember through this state of stretching skin and flux

you always have been and always will be

all girl and all woman