Issue Twenty-Four - Summer 2014

Math Girls of 8th Grade

Karen Vande Bossche

—For Kurt

Through the window I saw
you this morning talking,
counseling, I guess you could say,
those girls who draw blousy flowers
on the board in your classroom
with the pink and aqua markers
they steal from my room.

What is it about you that makes
them feel secure, lets them tell
you about unfamiliar men or
half-full baggies in their living rooms.
They’ll run home truant
from science or social studies
to feed their mothers Campbell’s
soup before helping them to bed

Girls who you then send to me
to explain why they should zip
up their sweatshirts, pull up
their sagging tank tops, keep
the new secret of their bodies.
I try to throw my arms around them
give them a quick maternal hug
but they wiggle out the door
back over to your room where
Sesame street songs play.

Copyright 2014 Vande Bossche

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