“she was just”
by Skaidrite Stelzer

contact lenses
didn’t like the football players anymore
liked the Beatles instead
and, like Sherry, wanted to “come out tonight”
didn’t like the formaldehyde squirting from the crayfish eye
dissection in biology class
and has smelled it ever since
some things don’t leave you
did not enjoy the hayride with the short boy
from a rich neighborhood
did not enjoy the winning number
Christmas sourdough

contact lenses
her vision ever clearer
got over the menstrual blood
on the white skirt
got over playing ping-pong
at the school dance
she bought some boots
made for walking
dreamed California
for real

IMAGE:  1970s ad for contact lenses.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Thinking back on being 17 in the 1960s, I decided to focus on the invention of the contact lens as a metaphor for the new sense of freedom that many girls were beginning to feel in that decade. I’ve distanced myself a bit by using third person, since these specific experiences which I claim are certainly familiar to many other girls of 17.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Skaidrite Stelzer lives and writes in Toledo, Ohio. Growing up as a post-war refugee and displaced person, she feels connected to the world and other stray planets. Her poetry has been published in Fourth River, Eclipse, Glass, Baltimore Review, and many other literary journals.