She sits behind me
in the last row of desks
next to the windows
belly pressed hard
against melamine and a box
of stashed pencils

And books never cracked
her soft brown eyes
in a field of freckles
behind long lashes
and lanky bangs
dream of anywhere but here

When she stands
that belly protrudes
from unzipped Lees
and unbuttoned flannel
challenging every 14-year-old
eye to ogle

And wonder who
and remember how far
from here is everything
to this day
and I just realized that baby
maybe stares down 40

For Kim’s weekend prompt: PORTRAITURE


  1. This is such a lovely portrait of a girl... the schoolroom was a great place (and I'm pretty sure I would ogle too)...

    1. Oh no, I have not done a great job describing what this girl is dealing with

  2. Teen pregnancy ~ I know the future is uncertain at best. One of the fortunate, I was.

  3. Forty years ago, I guess this was out of the ordinary in a classroom.. now just another part of life. You captured her determination very well.

  4. Poor kid had to grow up way too soon, and harden herself to aggression both micro and macro. I hope she made it through OK. She seems like a fighter, but this world is really hard on girls in her situation to this day. We haven't advanced all that much in 40 years, and now we're on the verge of losing even that.

  5. Oh, wow, that stomach which changed the trajectory of her life. I can see her.

  6. This is so poignant. I can see her clearly with her "unzipped Lees and unbuttoned flannel," you have portrayed her situation well. I hope she makes it through.❤️

  7. A powerful portrait, Marian! I like the way you painted the setting first and hinted at the story with the ‘belly pressed hard / against melamine and a box / of stashed pencils’ in the first stanza. I felt so sorry for that girl when the belly protruded from unzipped Lees and unbuttoned flannel. How painful to face those ogling 14-year-olds. It was such a long time ago but no less remembered by those who cared, and sadly not the first or the last teenager to cope with an unwanted pregnancy - or perhaps it was wanted; for some teenage girls it's the only option.

  8. This is always such a difficult image to look at, a girl ripped out of childhood... so quickly, so harshly, forever.

  9. In Texas if needed they could have home bound teaching. But mainstreaming was deemed best. At fourteen they can marry with parents consent. Or they can go to a state with a lower age consent. Fake ID generally wasn't questioned. My lips are sealed. [:-)

  10. The one who wants to hide but everyone looks at. And she can no longer hide what is right in front of her. Growing up way too quickly.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!