In a Vase | my body is a flower

In a Vase

Ivanna Dudych

my body is a flower

Haley Creighton
to me, when i was small
as a chrysanthemum bud:

hello, dear — let me
tell you something
no one else will bother to let
you know:

your body is a flower.

i know;
when you were eight, your father
sewed your lips shut with words
that sounded sweet:

Don’t let a boy kiss you
until you’re eighteen.

he laughed, but he was serious;
you could tell by his eyes.


i know that ugly feeling in your chest
well; i have felt it a thousand times —
like a flower crumpling in on
itself, wishing to hide from the sun.

you never liked boys,
and you didn’t want kisses, did you?
and even if you had wanted boys
or kisses from boys
when you were only eight
(what was he thinking?!),

you probably felt so small
when you heard that only boys
were allowed to kiss, not girls
like you.

It’s all right — you don’t need
to listen to him anymore. remember
what i told you?

your body is a flower;
your body is yours. 

i’ll give you a different set of words
now that i hope won’t make you shrink:

kiss girls if you want.
kiss boys. 
kiss yourself.

your body is your flower,
and you can choose to do
as you want with it, and
when. and if you don’t 
want to do any of those things
at all, that’s all right, too.

i’ll be right here for you.