My first kiss was in my backyard.
The boy was shorter than me even though
he insisted he was taller —
and when he smiled his cheeks got red.
We were thirteen.
We “dated” for seven months,
without doing anything but lightly touch each others hands,
and on valentines day he left
chocolates and a heart necklace on my doorstep.
He kissed like a woodpecker.
Pecks one after another all in rows,
like he didn’t want to finish
but he also didn’t know
it was okay to stay there.
My first poems about love were about him —
back before I knew
there were kisses
that could make your skin crawl,
a tongue invading the back of your throat.
That some would reek of alcohol,
and cigarettes that linger in your mouth.
That some people kiss
with all the pain of a lifetime,
and you learn what tears taste like.
That some will grip you and send you over the edge —
that light you on fire,
and when it all ends
you can’t relive it.
And for some, a kiss won’t be enough.
If I could choose,
I would have preferred
the innocence and the ignorance
of the first.