Hell As a Teenage Girl

Teenage girls aren’t publishing novels

Lauded as classics, mined for insight in troubling times

But they could be, if only we’d let them

And oh, the novels they would write

More effortlessly satirical than Franzen, wryer than Wilde

More epic than Tolkien

Sweeping and poignant, like Shelley and Brontë

But rooted in the incomprehensible present


Like the cats who guard the mythic underworld

Teenage girls stand at the literal mouth of hell

Self-images shattered and reformed, perpetually

Cursed by all who dare to behold their natural state

Yearning to be loved, desperate to be known

Yet they have the audacity to giggle at shadows

For all their many imagined sins, they do not beg

Forgiveness is the one luxury they can never earn


Compromise is a nasty trap, collaboration their secret weapon

Colluding together, in the shadows, whispering of their potential

Dreaming of the only place they are ever truly safe

Within, they build worlds, unmolested, unfettered, unlimited

Complex, horrifying, beautiful, fragile, and strange

Reckless, maybe, but not careless

Oh my god, the truths they could tell us about ourselves

If only we would let them