Fragments of Adolescents

Fragments of Adolescents

             By Sidney Garner


They were bright little seconds in a happy childhood.

Innocent little things.

When did that all change?

When did I become so afraid

Of a simple little pencil sharpener?

Maybe it started years ago

When an unsharpened pencil jabbed my head.

Maybe that day was the first in a long war.

Maybe I should have taken it as an omen.

Maybe then I wouldn’t have found it so tempting.

To just see how easy it was to loosen a screw.

Maybe then I wouldn’t have been so surprised

When years later I performed an emergency operation

On one of those bright little bodies.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprise when

Blood was only drawn after I extracted the metal from the plastic.



There was blood in the toilet.

I tried to stop it, but it kept on coming.

Everyone hyped it up,

Saying all these changes were wonderful,

But all I felt was scared.

I didn’t want to be a girl

But I had to accept it,

That didn’t mean

I didn’t fight it with every step:

Periods, makeup, dresses,

I wanted nothing to do with any of it.

The only thing I was remotely excited about

Was growing breasts and gaining curves

But that soon lost the appeal.

So I became a coward and

Hid under curls and sweatshirts.

I didn’t want to be a girl

But what else was there for me?



There was lots of yelling.

What were we fighting about?

Another sibling fight?

It didn’t feel like it.

Yesterday I took a swing at you

In the bathroom.

Today you tell me I’m the reason

You want to kill yourself.



Who the hell did I like?

I thought I had a thing for blondes

But it turned out I only fell for jerks.



The pants I owned were too short.

I could ignore that but my mother couldn’t.

They squeezed my hips like a cobra.

I looked at the price scanner and all I saw

Was money we didn’t have.

I looked back to my mother:

“I’m okay until next fall.”

She didn’t believe me and wanted to protest.

I didn’t let her. We left the pants there.