A Collection of Comments Made by Boys about My Appearance

I like your body,
It’s . . . authentic looking.
I think your freckles are cute.
You need to eat more.
Don’t eat cucumbers,
That will make you thin.
How much do you even weigh?
If you had a baby, it would break you in half.
I like your makeup.
You’re so fucking cute.
I have a bigger boobs than you.
So fucking cute.
It’s . . . it’s a nice handful.
Nobody who matters would care about that.
You’re perfect naturally, you don’t need makeup.
This one is little’ums and this one is big’ums.
I think they’ve grown since I last saw you.
You look like a famous person.
I don’t know who,
But doesn’t she look like someone famous?
Would you get that tattoo removed if you could?
Are you seriously going to wear that?
Are you kidding?
Oh wow, it really is crooked.
I could snap your wrist in half.
Your bottom lip is huge.
It’s like you don’t even have a top lip.
I always thought that about you,
That you have a really nice profile.
I wondered if you knew it.
Your hands aren’t beaten up,
Not a woodworker.
Maybe a little artistic.
Do you even eat?
Yeah, you should just get that taken off.
I can see your armpit hair, that’s really gross.
Do you have to shave your mustache?
I know some girls do.
Those are way too short.
You’re showing off your legs,
It’s like you’re flirting with every guy you see.
You have a big nose.
You have a big forehead.
You have really nice teeth.
I love your little Paige freckles.
I like in a ponytail.
I like it straightened.
I like your morning hair.
Not that you need your beauty sleep.

– P.B.



My momma swallowed a watermelon seed.
It grew upside-down and backward.
Warped, lodged feet first.
Prone to afflictions of the mind.

Sick and tired of life before
I learned how to be
Sick and tired.

I ruined my mother’s birthday.

I guess I knew what was good for me, even then:
They had to cut me out.

– P.B.

“Watermelon Watermarks” by Eugenia Loli


I could navigate this house by memory:
The big round windows to the soul.
The shutters, for slamming.
The doors that lead to the chambers of the heart.
And the rooms left unlocked.

The joints and beams that will
Creak when we grow old,
Nails giving themselves to hold us together.
Rotting wood carved erratically
By a circulatory system of termites.

That place upstairs where we will paint –
Desperate artists must always bleed to feel
(Or so they say).
The shelves of books that we will study,
Tearing through pages
Until we find
What makes a heart tick.

– P.B.

“Some Biting Advice for a Friend”

Find ways to measure yourself without numbers.
Life isn’t about how many times
You raised your hand in class.
Or how many shots you can take in an hour.
Or how many languages you can speak.

Don’t weigh yourself in grade points.
Or Facebook likes.
Or credit hours.
Pull yourself up without knocking others down.

You are not the only person who is busy.
Don’t act like it.

Don’t expect anyone to jump in
To save you from the water you spilled.
I am not a lifeboat and you are not a stone.

Give yourself credit, but quietly.

– P.B.

“What Was Left”

You are the half-used bottle of Irish Spring in my shower,
A toothbrush snapped in half
Or that box in my room
Where sweaters and warm-up jackets
From high school soccer teams
Go to die.

You are a forged signature
On a voided check from two years ago.
Multivitamins washed down the sink.
And a packed-up Jeep
With nowhere to go.

You are a soul without a body.
A lost ticket.
A dead language
Bleeding from a split tongue.

You are sperm dying in a garbage can
And my fingernails on the floor of a bar
Next to a cracked-out ballerina
With a broken wing.

You are the left side of my bed
And am I the right.

– P.B.


Can you not think about love for just six seconds

And maybe write a poem about something else?

Like maybe one of those ideas you etched

Into your skin with your fingernail

Or scribbled in the margin of your notebook

While you pulled out your hair

With the leftover taste in your mouth

And breathed six slow counts in

And six slow counts out

Just to set the rhythm

Six days out of seven.

– P.B.