This poem first appeared in the 1987 Suisun Valley Review under the title “Innocence and the Bulbs”.
My peach zippered-down formal crackled
As you reached in, finding my back,
Fumbling with my Norform AA bra strap.
My back was all you dared to touch
That October Homecoming night.
I lay with my head on your knee
Your broad hand stroking my curling-iron curls
I needed a mother more than a lover as I
Took my first step toward that other world.
You drove me home in silence, and
It was a week before our eyes could meet.
Months later, in the front seat of your mother’s
Lincoln Continental, we tried again, and failed.
Our humiliation drowned our love
We changed hallway routes to Zoology
Found different petting partners.
Years later, on a San Francisco Muni bus,
We laughed at coincidence and fate.
Our eyes still clung with that
Gravity of first lust.
Hours later, undressing on my Murphy bed,
You promised to be a different man.