Wonder Eyes: A Poem About Growing Up

The Texas Standard is celebrating National Poetry Month with a poem from an adolescent girl written to her sister about the social pressures of being a teenager.

By Emma BaumgardnerApril 27, 2015 7:11 am|

Wonder Eyes

My sister is a visionary,

a youngster knowing no profanities.

She looks at me

with those wonder blue eyes,

memorizing this and that,

and most of everything.

“Am I pretty?”

She asks me.

Don’t ask me.

Little sister

you don’t need to know how these labels work.

“Beautiful,

pretty,

hot,

sexy,

short,

fat,

too tall,

‘You’re flat.’”

And most of all,

I was asking exactly that

when I was eight.

Enough to see the criticizing distaste

Of desperately trying to cure the image you hate.

I don’t want to teach you

how to look in the mirror and only see your nose,

how to stumble and fall and learn to hate your toes.

I don’t want you to throw up to gain

the best boy or friends,

just for fame.

Because best is something the worst would

say for game.

I’ve heard it all before

Life can become such a bore

when all anyone is asking

is how long your diet is lasting.

And while this message might be vexing,

and now my language might be perplexing,

Here I am,

asking you to think about what you’re texting.

Here’s my hand.

Why don’t you take it?

And here’s my love,

I hope you make it.


 

Emma Baumgardner is a ninth grader at McCallum High School. She authored this poem for the 2014 Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp—a program of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation. The Library Foundation supports the Austin Public Library by increasing awareness and enhancing library programs, facilities and collections. The Badgerdog program is a community-based creative writing project for people of all ages.