When the woman grows fangs
When I was a girl
my mother trained me to be docile.
“If you ignore them, they will move on” she would say,
brushing the comb through my hair as I whined at every knot she pulled.
I learned to shrink,
to be an unworthy target left less blood in my mouth.
I learned to hide,
if they could not see me there would be no meat for them to pull from my bones.
I learned to be afraid,
because fear is the instinct that has left us alive.
When I was 15,
they told me I was strong
as my spine curved
to keep my head below the water
and the sun off my face,
but the more child-like my disposition
the more they wanted to hear me scream.
Now I am a woman
who pulls her hair into buns because they are harder to grab
and I no longer whine as I pull through the knots
but my eyes still water at the sting.
I have been labeled a bitch
but I would rather become a bitch than make a home of dirt.
I used to think shrinking would make me undesirable
but being small did not stop them from devouring me.
So I have grown fangs through this smile,
made myself too big to consume
if they want to eat me
they will have to eat me as I am,
with all my sharpened edges and tough skin.
I am the woman who has grown fangs
and I will not make myself small and easily digestible for anyone anymore.
You may consume me,
but you will bleed for it.
By Lilith Hoey
Lilith is 22 and a recent graduate from Muhlenber College, where she studied English and Theatre. She had always loved to read, and did so ravenously, but at school that love blossomed into something she was proud to wear on her sleeve. Now, she is in her first year at Northeastern University’s English Masters program, where she is unapologetic and determined.