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Advice to girls who want to –

after Nikky Finney

Be reckless when it matters most. Messy incomplete. Belly laugh. Languish language. Be
butterfly stroke in a pool of freestylers. Fast & loose. You don’t need all the right moves all the
time. You just need limbs wild. Be equator. Lava. Ocean floor, the neon of plankton. Be
unexpected. The rope they lower to save the other bodies. Be your whole body. Every hiccup &
crease. Don’t believe Botox or chemical peels or surgical enhancements will beautify. Buck the
system. Age anyway. Elastic girl. Be stretch moldable. Be funk flexible. Free fashionable. Go
on. Be hair natural. Cold beers on a Sunday afternoon. Out back porch girl. Try & do anything
woman. What brave acts like on your hips. Be cocky at the club. Have a fresh mouth. Fuck.
Don’t let them tell you what’s prim & proper. Not your lady like. Don’t be their ladylike. Their
dress up girl. Not their pretty. Don’t be their bottled. Saturated. Dyed. Squeezed. Spanxed. Be
gilded. Gold. Papyrus. A parakeet’s balk & flaunt. Show up uninvited. Know what naked feels
like. Come whenever you want. It’s your vagina. You should know how to love it. Get the
sweetness. Be the woman you love. Be tight rope & expanse. Be cornbread & grits. Stay hungry.
Be a mouth that needs to get fed. Ask for it. Stay alert – lively – alive & unfettered. Full on it all.
Say yes when it matters. Be dragon fish. Set all the fires. Be all the woman they warned you
against being. Be her anyway.


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