You should wear more make-up
(Translation: you don’t look feminine)
That colour washes you out
(Explanation: you don’t know what’s best)
Is it time for a haircut?
(Paraphrase: you have unused potential)
Are you sure you want to wear that?
(Interpretation: you reflect badly on me)
Did you gain some weight?
(Rewording: I want to control you)
You don’t want to shave?
(Revision: don’t make waves)
But you used to look so pretty
(Summary: remain an obedient girl)
You don’t have to look far.
The answers are all there.
Whenever you’re wondering.
Move back in time with me.
MARJORIE SILVERMAN is a former Montrealer now based in Ottawa. She is an emerging writer who has published in The Maynard, Montréal Writes, and Bywords. She is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript. Marjorie is also a professor of social work at the University of Ottawa.