after ‘High School’ by Blythe Baird
this is how to stand so that you look thinner / how to open a sanitary pad without making a sound / how to laugh so that you don’t sound raucous / how to shut up / when to shut up / why to shut up / why to memorise the face of every man who walks past you / every car registration plate / this is where to sit on public transport / in taxis / how to sit / how to keep loving your grandfather / your male friends / this is exactly how to hold your keys inside your pocket when you are walking home / why to change your route and schedule / why to always be in company / why to walk around the trees instead of through them / this is why to stay at least two meters away from cars that ask you for directions / why to play no music through your earphones / why to avoid wearing them at all / this is why to tie your hair in a ponytail before you leave / actually no why to leave it down / why to cross the road even if you don’t live on that side / why to stick to well-lit streets full of people who might scare you more than darkness / this is why to go the long way even if it’ll make you late / why to keep your chin up / how to reject him without making him angry / this is how to pick locks with kirby grips / how to clench up so it hurts less / how to cover up a love bite / how to share your location with your dad’s iPhone / this is how to recover in the place that made you sick /
aischa daughtery is a scottish, lesbian poet and essayist based in glasgow. her work explores womanhood, sexuality, politics and adolescence through a dirty lens smeared in red lipstick. she wants to transport you back to your teenage bedroom with her words – think of boxes of love notes, bloody sheets and missing socks – and encourage you to re-feel all of the magic and terror that comes with growing up a girl.