For a Girl I Know about to Be a Woman

By Miller Williams b. 1930 Miller Williams
Because you’ll find how hard it can be
to tell which part of your body sings,
you never should dally with any young man
who does any one of the following things:

tries to beat all the yellow lights;
says, “Big deal!” or “So what?”
more than seven times a day;
ignores yellow lines in a parking lot;

carries a radar detector;
asks what you did with another date;
has more than seven bumper stickers;
drinks beer early and whiskey late;

talks on a cellular phone at lunch;
tunes to radio talk shows;
doesn’t fasten his seat belt;
knows more than God knows;

wants you to change how you do your hair;
spits in a polystyrene cup;
doesn’t use his turn signal;
wants you to change your makeup;

calls your parents their given names;
doesn’t know why you don’t smoke;
has dirt under his fingernails;
makes a threat and calls it a joke;

pushes to get you to have one more;
seems to have trouble staying awake;
says “dago” and “wop” and words like that;
swerves a car to hit a snake;
sits at a table wearing a hat;
has a boneless handshake.

You’re going to know soon enough
the ones who fail this little test.
Mark them off your list at once
and be very careful of all the rest.

Miller Williams, “For a Girl I Know about to Be a Woman” from Some Jazz A While: Collected Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Miller Williams. Used with the permission of the poet and the University of Illinois Press.


Source: Some Jazz a While (1999)

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Poet Miller Williams b. 1930

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Living, Relationships, Coming of Age, Parenthood

Occasions Graduation, Birthdays

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Miller  Williams

Biography

Poet, editor, critic, and translator Miller Williams was born in Hoxie, Arkansas in 1930, the son of a Methodist clergyman and civil rights activist. Though he entered college as double major in English and foreign languages, an aptitude test revealed “absolutely no aptitude in the handling of words,” Miller has said in interviews. He changed his major to hard sciences to avoid “embarrassing my parents.” Williams received a BS . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Living, Relationships, Coming of Age, Parenthood

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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