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Genie Giaimo
Age 17


15 Minutes

It's cold. Shivering, I turn the brass knobs,
Cursing myself for undressing so quickly
I step into the shower; the water is still cold.
Finally, the temperature adjusts.
I look over each bottle and choose carefully
running the ivory bar over my body.
I explore every curve, every imperfection,
and at this moment I hate myself.
Red dances inside a golden ring, mixing with used water
and I wonder when it will stop.
I scrub myself of all the filth that builds up on me.
Closing my eyes, I lean back
against the green and white tiled wall
letting the water run over me and I feel secure, almost spiritual,
tucked away in my secret temple. Reality slips from my memory,
and I no longer worry about the man who left us,
the sister who ran away or the rest of my life.
I've heard it said that water symbolizes rebirth,
but to me it means safety. Briefly, I'm protected.
15 minutes a day I'm free.


Paper Clip Poem

You use me like a pen
and suck up all my ink.
I break like a pencil point
before I have time to think.
I drift like a piece of loose-leaf
fallen in a puddle of rain.
Constant sinner, secret forgiver
nurturing the blame.
My whited-out heart has forever dried
now caked and cracked to pieces.
I paperclip myself together
wrinkled soul still creases.


Genie Giaimo is a senior at Tottenville High School in Staten Island, New York. She received a Bread Loaf Young Writers Fellowship for her short story, "Judith." Her prize-winning poem, "15 Minutes," is forthcoming in the anthology, A CELEBRATION OF YOUNG POETS, published by Creative Communication, an organization devoted to the promotion of Language Arts in our schools.

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