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The Babysitter

Poet: Debra Kaufman

She breezed in, chewing clove gum,

slung her sparkly bag on our new couch, 

this teenager I'd never seen before, 

Donna or Diana, the name of a girl in a song. 

She wore white pedal pushers

and a pink angora sweater. 

Want to look pretty? Of course I did. 

Opening her bag, she brushed blush 

on my cheeks, dabbed on some 

green eye shadow. Don't tell your mom. 

She played a stack of 45s she'd brought. 

Just like “Down in the Boondocks,” 

her boyfriend came from the wrong side of town. 

She showed me his ring on the chain 

around her neck. When she was my age 

she'd had rheumatic fever, which I heard 

as romantic, which had damaged her heart, 

which is why she cried just thinking about 

her mother saying something bad about Sal. 

We danced ourselves dizzy, then watched 

The Twilight Zone. I fell asleep in my clothes. 

At breakfast, pouring my father's coffee, 

my mother said, That girl left glitter 

all over my linoleum floor.  

Debra Kaufman is the author of the poetry collections God Shattered, Delicate Thefts, The Next Moment, and A Certain Light, as well as three chapbooks and many monologues and short plays, and four full-length plays.