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Poem: Bitch

I was called “bitch” today.

A visceral reaction to recoil inward,

the good girl feels bad.

Then I recall

all those before me who bore it.

Crone. Witch. Hussy. Tramp. Whore. Bitch.

The label of the woman who says “no!”

No to “quiet”, No to “place”, No to “good”

The ones who say “enough!”

I inhale the oxygen of self-assurance.

Hear my voice. Inhabit my space.

I am not wrong.

If you must call me bitch,

I will smile.

© 2023 Jennifer Deshaies

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