Self-Portrait as Claudia Kishi, Vice President of The Babysitters' Club

Rachelle Cruz


I survived Stoneybrook, Connecticut

by gorging on Doritos, gummy bears,

and red licorice, plastic-wrapped jewels

hidden in the locked diary of my bedroom.

This town of mothers drunk on margaritas

while passing out Halloween candy. This town

of fathers who talk loudly and leave a single button

of their polos open. We knew we'd found

our niche. I admit it, I slept on the job,

snuck bites of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food

and frozen chicken nuggets, I snooped.

Once I found some mother's secret stash:

loads of KY Jelly, technicolored condoms

and a smudged picture of Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

This is the stuff unremembered, not written;

you know, the real stuff:

Kristy's coming out, Mary Anne's imaginary

Logan (that Jan Brady of a girl), Stacy dealing

Ativan to NYU undergrads in Washington Square Park.

Here are my almond eyes seared open,

here's my braided carpet of black hair

twisted into a side ponytail. Sugar packets

spill from my jean pockets as I empty

them for bus change, my last white