Written by Alma Mark-Fong

Edited by Rebecca Choe

To the little girl of yesterday there are so many things I wish to say
Too little too late I suppose
If I could I’d take back
the words I used to torture you
Punishment for being too kind and too loving, too forgiving, and too vulnerable
For asserting your right to be a child, too naive and too weak
but wiser than me

There are things I regret
Not allowing you to breathe and denying you the most basic of comforts
Working you until your hair fell out of your spotless mind
and your clothes hung off your frame like bedsheets
Until softened curves sharpened into bony junctures and your body began to fail you
And not trusting you to come into your own
That you might become a woman without my help
Forcing your petals open long before you could catch the sunlight
and bloom into fullness

I never meant to hurt you
Or maybe I did, a means to an end, right?
If I had been given a little more time to carefully weigh my words would you still be here now?
Instead of this ugly, hateful, distasteful thing I’ve forced you to become
My sins have not much to show for it seems, neither confidence nor beauty achieved

I think of you and I feel sick
My past mistakes threatening to spill from my lips as venomous bile
And when I look in the mirror
A reflection of delicate poise and maturity smiles back teasingly
“It doesn’t belong to you,” it whispers, chanting,
“Stolen from the little girl,”
The girl the girl the girl
“The girl of yesterday”

Illustration by Aniqa Ahmed
Instagram: @aniqarts

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