Never wash the colors with the whites; don’t throw your jeans in the dryer if you don’t want them to shrink; bleach is for whites only; don’t let the dishwasher make you lazy; keep a clean house, but not so clean that company feels unwanted; don’t lay in your bed without showering; wash your sheets every two weeks; if you use conditioner everyday it will make your hair look particularly greasy; always wash your hands before you eat; this is how you get blood out of a shirt; this is how you set the table; this is how you set up a doctors appointment; this is how you make Nanny’s infamous pound cake; this is how you get rid of ringworm—soak a penny in vinegar until it turns green, then tape it to the ringworm; this is how you keep a straight face when all you want to do is laugh; this is how you say “I love you” to a friend; this is how you say “I love you” to a lover; but I’m too young to be in love; tables are for glasses, not for asses; never put your feet up on the table—no one wants their food tasting like a foot; when wearing a dress, cross your legs, unless you want everyone to see your panties; always wear panties with a skirt or dress because if you don’t, you’re asking for it; don’t pour salt on a slug or feed a bird Alka-Seltzer; this is how you speak to a man; this is how a man should speak to you; this is how to cover your cough; this is how you check eggs to make sure they aren’t cracked; but what if they’re all cracked?; you mean to tell me you’re going to be the kind of woman who can’t find a good egg?
(Chelsea Rosenberger says, "I rewrote [Jamaica Kincaid's] 'Girl' because when I read the poem, I immediately pictured all of the little bits of advice my mother has shared with me over the years.")
LIT160 Introduction to Literature--Spring 2008
Posted with permission.