Relic #9: The Girls

Be a good girl. Keep the laundry fresh on the line. Be polite. Cross your legs at the ankles. Don't kiss on the first date. Don't forget your place. Don't forget what we told you. You know you're not a pretty girl, but if you are pleasant enough, it can be forgiven. You know you've read too many books. You've danced with too many strangers. You've kept secrets tucked into your swollen heart--words you couldn't say and stories not yet ready to be born. What happens in this house stays in this house. Don't speak out of turn. Hold your tongue.

When summertime days come along with sunlight singing across your skin and trees wild with green, don't enjoy them too much. It isn't modest to revel in the light. It isn't proper to crouch down and run your fingers across the earth like the hollow of your lover's back. It isn't ladylike to sit with your legs spread, taking up room in the world. It's not right to hold back your smile when he tells you to. It is something you owe him, after all, because he is a man and he asks for it nicely, camera pointed right into the middle of your afternoon.