What is an exclamation point? An action. What are many exclamation points? A revolution. Sophie Paquette’s poem is a refusal, a feminist text, where exclamation points fly after every almost thought and phrase. In short, Paquette uses the exclamation point to punch the patriarchy in the throat. She uses it as a middle finger, a protest sign. But the exclamation point is also a cut here, a strain, taking the grammar of online marketing and struggling to bend it. “o shattering prism of clicks!” writes Paquette, “o country of hands!” If we are to do right by Paquette, we will share, re-post, and re-tweet this poem, a sign to the patriarchy that says “teenage girls! know! what you’re trying to pull!” We will work to help clearing a path for any teenager being patronized, even if we just begin by hitting “like.” — Sophie Klahr
for the ad on my browser reading tragic girl’s life could have been saved by this new safety device!
tragic girl clickbait!
receives dick pic with a smile!
spits in a bottle for you to wear round your neck! so this thirstiest part of her always hang close to your chest!
tragic girl cartoned milk! best used 7 days after opening! best used to wash down something else sweeter! sits in your mouth to silence the aftertaste of another! suckle tragic girl for strength! while she refills herself! again & again!
tragic girl marketing scheme! paid display advertising! purchase with a single click! tragic girl wants to help get you off! the couch to buy something!
tragic girl shapes her body into any role she is given! tragic pixie wet dream! plays love interest! plays some kind of instrument! only so you can lay naked & beg! tragic girl play me like your—!
tragic girl grew up ugly! tragic girl grew! once! not anymore!
tragic girl exactly how you like her! not child! not woman! not alive! not dead! could have been saved! but the body still warm enough to touch! tragic girl could have been! an artist! a writer! a person! but what makes her tragic then! how could you swallow her! without spitting out! could you! could have! could have tragic girl! preserved forever! while you sit with this new safety! device & its saved lives! the flood of voices still trailing behind! tragic girl & all her undead sisters! so you feel holy for hearing them! gracious for wanting them! hero for imagining their revival! divine for sculpting all of their hypothetical lives from soft clay! or software! somewhere tragic girl sings her praise & I wonder
if she feels it! o shattering prism of clicks! o country of hands! these many glowing screens! a million fingers! pressing down
Sophie Paquette is a poet and essayist from Bloomington, Indiana. She attends Interlochen Arts Academy, where she serves as an editor for The Interlochen Review. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Heavy Feather Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Midwestern Gothic, The Offing, and others.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Olivia Bigboy (St.Huberts HS, Philadelphia, PA); Olivia Campbell (Methuen HS, Methuen, MA); Laila Hamer (Woddbridge Senior HS, Woddbridge, VA); Madison Vogt (Bentonville HS, Rogers, AR); Ian Jacome (Miami Arts Charter, Doral, FL); Ashlyn Langford (Timber Creek HS, Keller, TX); Katerina Drogojevic (Rome Free Academy, Rome, NY); Haley Fisher (Woodlands Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada); Foster Hudson (Little Red Elizabeth Irwin, New York, NY); Eliza Durbin (Newton Country Day School, Boston, MA); Ellis McGinley (Capitol Theater Magnet HS, Millimantic, CT); Lily Krug (NYC iSchool, New York, NY); Sylvan Lebrun (The American School in Japan, Tokyo, Japan); Yoonjin Lim (Northfield Mount Hermon School, Mount Hermon, MA); Matthew Capone (Westwood HS, Westwood, MA); Lacie Minton (Hibriten HS, Lenoir, NC); Alison Child (Mountain Vista HS Highlands Ranch, CO); Claire Shang (Hunter College HS, NYC, NY); Stephanie Chang (Richmond Christian Secondary School, Richmond, BC, Canada); Helen Graham (Harvard-Westlake, Los Angeles, CA); Helen Quian (Richard Montgomery HS, Rockville, MD); Anjini Grover (Adlai E. Stevenson HS, Buffalo Grove, IL); Allison Armijo (El Segundo HS, El Segundo, CA); Adam Zhou (International School Manila, Taguig, the Philippines); Priya Rinkus (Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, Rumson, NJ); Akhila Bandlora (BASIS Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ); Rebecca Oet (Hathaway Brown, Shaker Heights, OH); Jessica XU (Haynes Academy, Metairie, LA); Grace Wang (Columbus North HS, Columbus, IN); Sandra Chen (Amador Valley HS, Pleasanton, CA); Margaret Balich (Winchester Thurston, Pittsburgh, PA); Hannah Crowley (Marblehead HS, Marblehead, MA); Star Bullen Crowe (Brooklyn HS of The Arts, Brooklyn, NY); Samantha Grace Dell’Imperio (Eastchester HS, Scarsdale, NY); Yerin Chang (Lower Moreland HS, Huntingdon Valley, PA)