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