Aimée Baker

Things A Girl Should Know

(unidentified woman discovered July 21, 1980 in Eklutna, Alaska)

Remember
!50!!25!to keep your eyes open when you dance
!50!!25!naked against a pole, the customers want
to pretend
!50!!25!you move your body for them. Remember
!50!!25!to buy heels so tall and sharp
they are daggers
!50!!25!you can use to run down a man’s body, catching
!50!!25!against rib bones on the way. When you buy new clothing
it doesn’t matter
!50!!25!how short and tight, as long as you take
!50!!25!it off. When a man photographs you, ask him, ask him
if he’s ever killed
!50!!25!before. He will say no, but listen for the ratchet of breath
!50!!25!in his chest, the way his pupils dilate under the neon club lights.
If he tells you
!50!!25!to run, you will never be fast enough to escape
!50!!25!the sight of his gun, the sharp tug of his knife.
He will bring you
!50!!25!to the wilderness, the place where the ice crusts thick, to hunt
!50!!25!you among the scrub. If you have sold your body to dance, or
the touch
!50!!25!of someone’s skin on yours, then when he parts your slit
!50!!25!flesh, someone will say this is your own fault. But listen, listen for the sound
of the river
!50!!25!changing direction. This is the moment
!50!!25!you hold your breath.

Aimée Baker received her MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Currently, she is a Visiting Lecturer at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh and serves as the fiction editor at Saranac Review. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have been published in journals such as The Southern Review, The Massachusetts Review, Gulf Coast, and Black Warrior Review.
MORE POEMS
  • blue
    Lauren Michele Jackson