ONLINE ONLY: The Telltale Hip

December 16, 2011

Reading time min

Franco’s first novel, Metamorphosis: Junior Year, features a high school artist named Ovid who observes his classmates, and himself. Part prose and part poetry, here’s a tale about the campus jock and his glittering girlfriend.


Jack and Venicia were
attached at the hip,
2 buds on a branch,
2 birds of the same feather,
2 peas in a short pod—
The Couple.

Arms touching in the library
as they hovered over their books,
cropped hair bristling in sync
as they jogged around the track at lunch,
their nudges, their winks,
their piddly fights
were the envy of many,

till Jack went away to baseball camp
and that boy from another school
showed up
with the long curls
and the smile/snarl.
Forbidden fruit.

Jack heard them,
Venicia and that bad boy.
He heard them long distance:
“Touch it right here,”
he heard her say.

Jack laughed off Venicia’s explanations
of a trip to a petting zoo.

She finally admitted
she felt like a dog,
a boar, a bear,
a hairy beast.
She’d only gone down on that other boy.

But Jack never forgave her.

She constantly asked herself,
“How did Jack know? How did Jack hear?”
He constantly asked himself,
“How could she have done it?”

How could Jack have heard
since no one saw,
no one knew?

Her phone.

It had jostled in her pocket
and speed-dialed Jack by mistake,
betraying her while she betrayed him.

METAMORPHOSIS: JUNIOR YEAR. Text copyright (c) 2009 by Betsy Franco. Illustrations copyright (c) 2009 by Tom Franco. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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