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Lexington Poetry Month

June 5


I like to say that my first kiss was when I was thirteen.
Cute boy, double bass, mixed tapes, and smoking weed
out of a coke can. We were our own teenage indie film. 

It was actually several years earlier,
crouched between bedroom furniture
with the girl next door.  

We play house a lot. Make-believe
we are husband and wife.  

She would set up Barbie and Ken’s wedding,
including a room full of fancily-dressed guests.  

I color another Barbie’s face green,
& have her ride on the back of a t-rex
to crash the wedding.  

She’d yell at me, you’re not playing right,
the storm door slamming behind her. 

This is all to say that I wasn’t going to let you kiss me, shit-faced
in the parking lot after the Harry Potter event at the public library.  

Let me just say this, please. Do you even remember it?  

True or False: you find ways to push your way through the air to my skin
again and again I dodge you, and look for you to follow—and you do.  

That night we sat in the backseat of my best friend’s car with my daughter between us. True or false: you remember stretching your arm across the seat, playing with my hair and caressing the curls by my temple. Do you remember the swoop of your hand? How later you said now I know what it feels like to touch you in that way. That night on the stairs you called me babe and slurred we could date. No really, it’s something I’ve wanted. That night at the pizza place, you grabbed my hand and locked eyes, tell me what you really want, just say it.  

True or false: I felt good about you getting into your car,
driving home drunk. I followed you anyway, made sure
you made it home. True or false: this was all in one night.
True or false: this was not the first time. True or false:
I chase this behavior. True or false.

3 responses to “June 5”

  1. Dwight Myfelt says:

    Best poem I’ve read in a long time. Very powerful. I love what you did with true or false, starting with it slowly and then building until it was pounding in my head by the end. This poem is all true. No false.

  2. HB Elam says:

    Had me from “we were our own teenage indie film” and loved every second of it.

  3. Teja says:

    so many stories that you’ve managed to fold into this poem, and so beautifully told

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