poetry

Bitch face

Body glitter and belly shirts
naval pierced above low rise
stretch pants and below
that backless red crop top,
sheer in front
covering the minimum of flesh.

Dark eyeliner and bright lipstick
concealer to cover my freckles
platform shoes
and platinum blonde hair
long and straight down my back
concealing and revealing tan lines.

Press of bodies in line
shivering in the cold of Seattle
nights, no coats over next-to-nothing
to avoid paying for coat check.

Inside, the cold disappears
in the press of bodies
on the dance floor
hearts pounding with the bass.

Nerves, part excitement
part fear because I don’t
know how to dance and this
press of bodies–this press of men–
dizzies and bewilders me.

But no one really knows
how to dance at these places
it’s just a matter of moving your
hips just right when your partner
presses against you
and soon I forget the nerves
laughing and dancing with my girlfriends.

In my ear he whispers
“you’d be hotter if you smiled”
and he turns me to face him
expecting to see coy curved lips
instead of my blank face
and crooked eyebrow.

When I was 17
Every week I heard “smile more”
as I walked down the street
as I went to work
as I put groceries in my car

and the first time
I didn’t feel compelled to muster
a faked smile
was at the dance club.
In my body glitter
and near-nothing clothes
I learned to perfect my bitch face.

Smile more?
Be hotter for you?
Be sexy for you?

Don’t tell me to smile.
Just shut up and dance.

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