my palms bleed from thorns but my mother just says "hold it tighter, dear, hold it higher, so they can see the rose"

and my mother says, 
such a beautiful english rose complexion 

and it's true 
i am pretty in an arbitrary way like this 
lips and teeth and fake smiles like low-calorie sugar 

good enough

and better for the masses

and i say, 
i think i might just be a dandelion 

and my mother explains, 
those are weeds, darling, those are weeds

and i say 
i know 

i know

mother, do i know. 

so she tells me don't be silly 
and english roses don't cry 

and i say i'm just a weed
a fake 
a plastic shell of femininity 

and my mother says, stern and sharp, 
english roses don't cry 
girls do not cry 

and i don't say it 
but i think it 

curling above rows of clacking white porcelain teeth,
the phrase
but boys do.

The End

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