The confidence of a teenage girl

hangs from a long strand of silk

that makes its way

through bustling high school hallways

all the way home

where it is cut loose

so she can be herself

in a place she trusts.


The confidence of a teenage girl

is challenged every day

in front of a mirror

where she spends too much time


whether she’s pretty enough

and smart enough

and good enough

for the world outside.

The confidence of a teenage girl

(who loved so dearly her childhood

now forced into a new world

that she doesn’t understand)

is fortified at home

strengthened by a man

who used to carry her to bed

and paint polkadots on her toenails.

An argument

with her father

a very


bad day

when her crystal soul is shattered

alongside his

and their confidence in each other

seems lost.

A father

(merely a child with calloused scars)

is a hero

until the day she sees him

for what he really is

a fragile beast

with medals on his chest

from being dragged along a gravel road.

The confidence of a teenage girl

is broken

without her father

who can’t bear to see her go

out into the world


whether she’ll be ok

amidst the wolves

and without a marksman


This is the sixteenth poem of my personal 30-day poetry challenge to break away from the machine to think about things that don’t matter. I have no idea what I’m doing. – Jim

Silencing the Muses

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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