Poetry by Juliette Carbonier
Visual artwork by Sarah Yun
Two of Me
1.How I Wish I Felt
Zipper on mother’s old jacket starts to slip, slip down
I yank it back up, check if there’s anyone around.
Not wearing a scarf, so bare collarbones are out,
don’t feel exposed until reminded of male prowlers about.
I think I escaped – not so fast! I spot the first beast of February.
His smug face twisted into greedy smile as if he discovered me.
Discovered my body, my beauty and charm:
I’m sorry, sir, my beauty is hidden, you can’t do me harm.
No matter how gross you make my skin feel,
skin is just skin that can peel and peel.
My beauty is my strength, smarts and bravery
to ignore your “knavery” so incredibly unsavory.
Look me uncovered head to uncovered toe,
for even my naked body, is just a body to grow.
Please: inspect me, analyze me and hiss all you may,
but no grope or glare will ever touch me: I am no prey.
2.How I Really Feel
April: Days get warm, breeze lazy, sun muggy.
My uneven breasts sweat all the way down to my jiggly tummy.
I wear my short summer dress – makes me feel pretty,
trying to love my curves, but wishing I was itty-bitty.
Unshaven legs are exposed, the sun so soft and warm,
unlike eyes staring, pressuring my exposed skin to conform.
I walk my streets, feeling unfamiliar eyes running down my body:
looks coming from men and women: both so haughty.
I want to shout “They’re just legs, you have them too”
but shame slimes down my spine, feels like my dress is see through.
All I want is to go home, shower the filth away,
because it’s all my fault. I’m disgusting just like their eyes say.
Suddenly being a girl doesn’t feel so social activism “cool”,
Facebook rants and comments only make me feel a fool.
At the end of the day, I’m just a body for show,
Go on! How do I look? Come one! Don’t you know?
You can say anything: no matter what insult you say,
it can never be worse than what I tell myself everyday.
Juliette Carbonier is 16 years old and attends Hunter College High School in Manhattan.
Sarah Yun is 14 years old and attends Seoul International School in South Korea.