Slim Fast Die Young by Amanda Deutch

Manhattan, 1990

School girls swayed by a diet

of Slim Fast and Tasti D-Lite

wine coolers, Marlboro lights

and one french fry at lunch

flamingo legs to attract shark boys

with low swung jeans and pagers

who spoke a Yo MTV Raps

Upper East Side patois

I wore a bright yellow J. Crew felt hat

to school one vacant afternoon

& David S. playfully grabbed

it off my head laughing with

my hat in his hands as he spit

into the hat then threw it

out of the yellow school bus window

somewhere onto Second Avenue

David’s hands reached across

the torn green vinyl bus seats

to grab my 13 year-old breasts

& whatever else was in arm’s reach

He went down the aisles

grabbing girls’ breasts

nipples, thighs, asses. He left

the shy ones alone

David was rich

and popular. We drank

vodka with him

at parties

L. was my best friend

She would flirt

and giggle when

David grabbed her  

she said it made him grab

less and go away sooner

“Plus” she said, “I don’t want

them to not like me

I don’t want him to think I am

 a bitch.”

David’s friend Sam, the one

with the freckles, and Alfred E. Newman ears

stood behind him. Sheepishly

his eyes apologized

for his friend, but he

did nothing to stop it

Natalya, the teenaged model with black Doc

Marten boots, torn knees in her jeans

always sat in the front seat

behind the bus driver listening

to her Sony Discman, long dirty blonde hair

flowing down her back, anorexic and above it all

Amanda Deutch was born and raised in New York City. Deutch’s poetry has been published in The New York Times, Oversound, The Rumpus, Cimarron Review, 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center, Denver Quarterly, and many other journals and magazines. She is the author of several poetry books, most recently, Bodega Night Pigeon Riot (above/ground press, 2020) and Surf Avenue and 29th Street Coney Island (Least Weasel Press, 2018).