The truck hadn’t even stopped
and already, seeing the tailgate plunk open,
I bolted from my waiting place behind
ancient porch windows and was up and in,
past rows of skinny knees and beer cases
guarded by pretty hockey-haired boys,
to the cool metal flatbed spot where
my best friends whispered.
Packed in tight and breathing in dust,
we rode there fast and I laughed, blinded
by someone’s swirling hair-sprayed layers.
Then, gulping fast at an ill-gotten cooler,
I turned to watch him and saw his smile
flash silver under the nearly-last streetlight, on that
secondary road, winding downhill towards
the black lake.
Inside the cottage, the air got thick with bodies and
summer stillness, and we were mad drunk.
People made the rounds, music pounded, a fight started
and ended, someone fell from the kitchen table
and I leaned further into my friends, forgetting
my careful clothes, spilling pink juice all over,
when at last, he came to stand near me, so close, I felt
the heat of his smooth arm.
But still drinks came and I wandered
out through pine boughs, looking
for a place to throw up, and everything blurred
under that clear night sky, so that when I kissed someone,
I didn’t care anymore that it wasn’t him,
or that my friends had left, until, back inside,
I glimpsed in a cracked mirror, my stained shirt, puffy lips,
and that strange look of terror and victory in
my own red eyes.