Published on Academy of American Poets (

(The essay on modesty)

(The essay on modesty) (in application for) (bodily autonomy)

              (She lost that case) (on (wide is the gate))  (rhetorically memorable)

                            (Arbiter rise)

(Attracted to) (the most minor) (advantages)                 (adopting gendered props)

              (Assaying willingness)                       (I notice a certain scarlet letter)

(Dream of a house)           (it can’t be mine)     (vast roominess)

                            (Dream of a beach) (but it’s a beach with a                 problem)

              (In the smug of your (natural woman))               (I have had (a stain) (a conceit))

                                        (Despite appearances (allegedly))

              (A medical person) (declares the injury a                                     non-emergency)


Copyright © 2017 by Krystal Languell. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 28, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I was thinking of the hurdles set up for young women to discourage their independence. A girl tries to access power through the channels she’s been introduced to, namely limited to purity, only to be denied anyway. All I have been able to conclude is that once we are willing to ask for permission, we’ve already lost our chance. This poem is from a series called ‘Little Runaway,’ a reference to the 1961 #1 song ‘Runaway’ by Del Shannon.”
—Krystal Languell


Krystal Languell

Krystal Languell is the author of Quite Apart, forthcoming from University of Akron Press in 2019, and Gray Market (1913 Press, 2016). 

Date Published: 2017-06-28

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