Hey, Beautiful

hey, beautiful


her skin was frail and fragile, and dull eyes stroked

her every vein and every bone. she wondered if

perhaps the man walking beside her was lonely,

in lack of love, sex, satisfaction. he wasn’t her type

––though none of these men ever were––

but she refused to open her lips, remaining

silent. the streets were concrete,

filled with lamps, the familiar smell of flowers in the

nearby market. not all was foreign, but the

man walking beside her was. he left after

five ugly minutes.


their torturing tongues were sticky with dirtied honey,

slowly dripping poison. “hey beautiful,” they

would say. “damn.” “looking good today, mama!”

“am I too ugly for you?” “want my number?”

the woman shuddered, clutching her purse to her

side. head leveled, she walked carefully through

the streets, counting her breaths in her head.

she felt as if people were watching her

every move, every twist, every turn.

her fists clenched to check if she was still alive,

blood traveling through her body and keeping her sane

to feel that she was okay. for now.

she remembered how her heart warmed as she looked

at her reflection in the mirror and smiled and wished that

she could feel this way in the outside world:

brazen and rebellious.

and then she would hear one

of them say it again.

hey, beautiful.”

the mirror cracked.


- Hannah Chen


Cover photo source: http://www.tlynnfaz.com/Stop-Telling-Women-to-Smile