Poetry for Teens - Keesha's House

Keesha's House, written by Helen Frost, was the 2003 Printz Medal Winner.
It is a book of striking and realistic poems that will resonate with many teens.
The poems are beautifully written, yet true to the thought process and speech patterns to modern urban life.

Each poem has a very interesting and odd method in their line breaks. I sometimes found these breaks to be beautiful in their jarring emotional confusion, but other times they were simply just confusing. Needing to be reread 3 or 4 times to grasp the meaning. But the line breaks were done intentionally and fully explained at the end of the book.

This book deals with heavy hitting topics. It tells a story buy allowing the mind to loosely connect the fragments it is given.

"Now This Baby" is the first poem in Keesha's House.

"Now This Baby" - Stephie

My parents still think I'm their little girl.
I don't want them to see me getting bigger,
bigger every week, almost too big to hide it now.
But if I don't go home, where can I go?
Jason said, You could get rid of it. I thought of how he tossed
the broken condom in the trash, saying, Nothing

will happen
. Now this baby is that nothing,
growing fingers in the dark, growing toes, a girl
or boy, heart pulsing. Not something to be tossed
aside, not nothing. Love and terror both grow bigger
every day inside me. Jason showed me where to go
to take care of it. I looked at him and said, I can't. Now

he isn't talking to me, and if he won't talk now,
I know what to expect in six months' time--nothing.
His family doesn't know about the baby. When I used to go
there every day, his mom would say, It's nice to have a girl
around the house
. But they have bigger
dreams than this for Jason. All my questions are like wind-tossed

papers in the street, and after they've been tossed
around, rain comes, and they're a soggy mes. Now
I'm hungry. I had a doughnut, but I need a bigger
meal. I'm not prepared for this. I know nothing
about living on my own. At school there's this girl
I know named Keesha who told me there's a place kids go

and stay awhile, where people don't ask questions. I go,
Yeah, sure, okay. I kind of tossed
my head, like I was just some girl
who wouldn't care. But now
I wish I'd asked her the exact address. (Nothing
wrong with asking.) To lots of girls, it's no big

deal to have a baby. They treat it like a big
attention getter--when the baby's born, the go
around showing it off to all their friends. But nothing
like this ever happens in my family. Mom and Dad won't toss
me out, or even yell at me, if I go home right now.
But how can I keep acting like the girl

they think I am--a carefree teenage girl with nothing
big to worry me. As for what I've started thinking now--
don't go there. Heads is bad; tails is worse: like that no-win coin toss.


Popular Posts