— Sandip Bhattacharya

The other day, she came bouncing
Into the room as I was checking email.
I am going to major in cosmetology, she announced.
The tips of her hair were carmine and spiky:
They had been soaking in sticky Kool-Aid the past hour.
Elsewhere, the strands had been twisted around flexi-straws –
Which stuck out like neon light-sabres in all directions:
She was Medusa in training!
And, oh, the eyeshadow –
Rocky would’ve been so proud – Raccoon, Balboa, who cares…
It was 7am, but the message was clear:
We had failed!
Some errant genome from the Subcontinental gene pool
Had leapt and landed in this fecund soil of Amreeka
And look….Look!
A minute or two of stunned silence followed, not unlike
What we reserve for the passage of great souls, or
Cherished dreams!
This didn’t last long – admonitions were heaped, warnings about
Plagues of acne and split-ends and night-blindness levied,
The specter of a lifetime of burger-flipping employment raised;
There were some screams, sighs, and rolling of eyes,
The slamming of a door or two – the details now fade…
She did make it to school that day. And
That night, during geometry homework, she showed us how,
If you use a transversal to connect two parallel lines,
All kinds of angles show up which are congruent.
She said lines, I heard lives. I think it’s going to be okay…

One thought on “Transversal

  1. This is wonderful and I remember the days of worrying about my teenagers. Now my children are fine, upstanding citizens and they are middle-aged. I really wonder how they would be if they were young now because it fascinates me to see the creative ways in which the teenagers groom themselves to be an individual person. I kind of wonder what mine would have looked like now. Your daughter sounds especially creative.

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