Sorry I didn’t post for two days, but here’s a slice of life from a teenage girl’s point of view.


Mirrors are cruel.

They never say she’s
the fairest one, yet she
dares another look.
She doesn’t see
herself, she only sees:


Horrible acne, festering, hideous.
A lump is in her throat as she
steps back for the full-length view.
Flat chest, not the
jiggling fullness boys like.

Hips SO not there.
And her hair, a disaster
of biblical proportions;
not really blonde,
not exactly brown,
more like puddles after
a long, soaking rain…
or the worms that come out to
get squished on the sidewalk.

And the scars on her wrists,
constant reminders that she
tried to rid the world of
this pustule of a person.

Rubbing lavender lotion on her
warm belly (at least I’ll smell good,
not that they’ll get very close),
then, donning the final insult:
the glasses.
(Bifocals at 16. I mean, really?)
She sneaks downstairs for breakfast
before catching the bus to school.

Her mom, who is of course GORgeous
and dressed the same, pours juice.
See her hands, perfectly manicured,
her flawless skin, and long,
auburn hair pulled back carelessly
in a scrunchy. Effortless.

She measures herself against
the impossible, easy beauty of her mother.
(I’ll never be that pretty, never.)

Mom turns and says,
“Paul, remember your biology test today.
Oh, look, you’re wearing the shirt
I got you at the mall!” A kiss on the forehead.
“My handsome boy. Don’t break any hearts today!”

Don’t worry. She won’t, not while
that worrisome bulge is in her jeans.
The thing that doesn’t belong on a real girl.

Gym today… she shudders,
takes a bite of a muffin,
feels the Adam’s Apple
bounce with the swallow.


© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Sunday Scribblings, the prompt was “Costume,” (and, indeed, that’s what this teenager wears every day) and ABC Wednesday is on “U.”  Also posting to dverse Open Mic Night, where a collection of more than 100 poets usually post their favorite poems of the week.  All descriptions, all diverse subject matter, all manner of poets.  Look for Aaron Kent, if he has posted a spoken word, too!

NOTE: Life is more than difficult for transgender teens; it’s often impossible. Too many kids commit suicide, caught in the confusion of their gender identity and an undefinable shame about how they are built vs. who they know they are. As with other teens with gender identity confusion, they are constantly on guard, worried their secret will come out. This “young man” yearns to go the the prom in a dress with cleavage. Who can blame her? She is, in her heart, a girl who happened to be delivered into the wrong body. Pray for our kids. High school sucks for straight kids – imagine yourself in this kid’s shoes. Peace, Amy