Middle school sex ed. taught abstinence (over protection and preparedness).
So high school offered only these choices:
But college, brought to you by the letter O, was a teacher of experience.
And finally, I separated sexuality from shame.
My glazed eyes blink; the page stays blank.
I have no pointed answers.
I’m whittled out. Hollowed.
Forty-two words are far too few
To contain her wisdom, her truths.
Just as fifty-seven years were too few.
But that’s all Mom was given.
We used to offer Thanks
on a well-fed Thursday
in late November.
Encroached by big business
clamoring for profit,
feast turned to famine.
Now parents working extra shifts
(to afford merry surprises)
are trampled red
beneath the soles
of 1,000 thankless feet.
Did she whisper “our secret”
as hands began to roam?
Did she murmur “don’t worry”
as text lit up your phone?
Did she mouth into darkness
“don’t think of her at all”?
While frozen at our table,
I waited for your call.
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My mind, sharper than a hawk’s talon,
s t o p p e d
when you regurgitated betrayal.
(I just swallowed.)
My eyes didn’t blink
They saw your many truths.
And instead of taking flight,
both victim and traitor–
caged me still to you.
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Staring at her hands to avoid the jurors’ intrusive eyes, she spat out answers. Each word bitter and heavy on her tongue.
A guilty verdict would surely dig a needle in his arm. So she swallowed the truth and set herself free.
Beware of uninvited visitors, the slight slip of paper warned.
Sarah chuckled to herself: These fortunes keep getting weirder and weirder.
Staring out the open window, she crunched absently on the stale cookie,
never seeing the eight-legged enemy that tiptoed silently inside.
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We dodge the questions like two school kids playing tag, chirping “We’ll do it when we’re ready.”
“We’re saving up.”
“We’re not in a rush.”
But really, we’re just plain scared.
We see what happens when there’s nothing left to run from.
Rain on your wedding day is good luck, they cooed.
So she slipped from the chapel–bouquet in one hand, umbrella in the other–and headed for the Greyhound station. She wasn’t going to screw this up.
One-way ticket to Vegas, please.
*Image Source: From Under the Willow Tree
I used to like flowers. Or at least I liked the idea of them since no boy had ever sent me any.
Then last year, flowers kept coming.
Roses adorning altars. Lilies dressing tombstones. Carnations saying farewell.
Now I’ll take chocolate instead.
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