Learn how to say “no.”
Cram that word inside your mouth,
the whole thing, make sure all of it
gets in there. Let it walk on your tongue.
Practice with it in the mirror, push it
out, make faces, learn to love the salt
and bitter of it. Teach it to perch on your lip,
buzz, collect pollen from your sugary gloss.
Make it swarm between your cheeks.
Then, when the days come (there will be
many) where he pushes too hard, speaks
too sweetly, when the hand at your thigh
draws a thump in your stomach, when
the bitch gremlin inside whispers it’s not
worth the fight, says you can barter
for your worth tomorrow, when your ribs
shrink, when he unfurls his Almighty Smile,
then four come at you at once, when
you love someone else, when the bar
is closing and your name becomes Take
What I Can Get, when the girls hate you
anyway, when you want him until the burn
if only he wore a different face—
pull back your lips, bare the teeth you have
sharpened to their perfect points, flick
your stinger tongue, set free your swarm.