Teresa Schartel Narey

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Artwork by Gene McCormick 

For the Quinn Girl

Grandma says, Know what you should do?
Find out her birthday. Use your allowance. Go to the Dollar Store.
Take one of the baskets from your collection.
Fill it with tubes of Teen Spirit, little soaps, Wind Song.

All of this for the Quinn girl,
whose face is a strawberry: red, ripe, waiting to burst.
When the boys catch her onion stench they yell, You got the pits!
Or, worst of all, You so poor, you can’t afford to go to the free clinic.

What they don’t understand is that some girls
have parents who usher them every inch:
deodorant here, perfume there, always wear a pantiliner.
These girls never need Oxy, Stridex, or Sea Breeze.

Oh, Quinn Girl,
when Grandma sees you crying on the walk home from school,
she shakes my shoulders, commands me,
Do something.


Teresa Schartel Narey's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in No Tokens, Pittsburgh City Paper, Extract(s), and Wicked Alice, among others.  She has an MFA in creative writing from Chatham University.