“Falling in the Girls Room” by Jacob King

Young girls
fall into the arms
of each other
long before daring
to be handled
by men.

They fall
into their roles:
Delicate and Dynamic.
I've seen each taken too far:
silent, slender girls
whose tongues
flick and falter
on command
and daughters turned sons
who hit like men.

when the wrong words fall
from the wrong mouths,
the delicate ones
hit the tile-covered concrete
Then, high cheekbones fall flat
against soft hands
into knuckle-tipped fists.

After the attack
the room falls silent.
Then, their tiny bodies rise,
pawing at the rounded, slippery sinks.
hobbling up, they find
battered faces
reflected in cold, polished mirrors.

There they count:
chipped teeth,
faded white scars,
and fresh bruises –
how often they’ve fallen

in love.