See Through Girls

by Sara Backer

When second-grade Brendan told her
he could see through her underpants
with his cardboard X-ray Spex, she said
she didn’t care. Her bones wouldn’t tell
how she really felt about pink-sweater Carol
and go-go boots Joan, who made her
unpopular in ten cafeteria seconds
by mocking her clumsiness with the tray.
She’d seen real X-rays, her private ulna
ghosts in a gray nebula, and the darkness
of the crack where all the pain spilled out.
She was no see-through girl.
Neither illusion nor technology could reveal
the scribbled secrets in her diary.

Sara Backer teaches writing at UMass Lowell and leads a reading group in a men’s prison. Her surreal poems recently appear (or will soon) in Allegro, Crannóg, Gargoyle, Hermes Journal, The Pedestal, and Dreams + Nightmares. Follow her on Twitter @BackerSara or

One thought on “See Through Girls

  1. Sara’s fascinating ability to pierce the surface – pores, skins, emotions – and not only find the soft underbelly of a moment, but dissect its worth, is a rare gift that has endured in her work and made her the wonderful read that she is today.


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