Was it when a neighborhood boy,
gangly and gawkish, asked if he could
kiss me, in the basement? It was summer,
thick and heavy, and I didn’t know
what to say but ‘yes’. And though it was
a terrible kiss, later I let him unbutton
my shirt; I let him touch my bra, my breasts.
They were so much larger than he’d expected,
and I didn’t know whether to be pleased
or embarrassed. And when he asked me
to rub him through his jeans, I said ‘yes’,
and when he asked me to rub him naked,
I invented an imaginary boyfriend, so he
would go away. He did. When another
neighborhood boy, younger, asked me
to touch him, I was surprised, and then
this boy said, “But you did it with him…”
I think I was angry; it’s hard to remember.
When he, the first one, died a few summers later,
I was angry, and sad, and wished I felt more
than I did. But, as my parents warned,
it could have been much worse.
Later, it would be. And much better.
Still, I remember him.
July 14, 1998