there are words that always float
on her lips, like the pink gloss
she swipes on before a date.
the words are usually
mumbled whispers, directed at passersby,
on her way to work, squashed between strangers
on-board the train.
sometimes, the words are accompanied
by a bubbly laugh
that she uses like a shield, a way to keep
everyone from looking further.
no matter where she goes, those words follow her.
she drags them along by a string,
tugging without realizing.
she despises the words
but she can’t exist
they are like the buttons on her coat,
the elegant curls in her hair,
the way her smile works only half the time,
half the way she wants it to.
she wears the words,
the dreadful syllables, like battle scars.
let her look you in the eyes
& say them