local_library Kissing Sluts

by Erin Bealmear

Published in Issue No. 18 ~ November, 1998

Barely teenagers, we were kissing sluts.
One day we licked on the same ice cream cone,
the next your tongue rubbed against my teeth; later
we touched bare thighs, playing each other’s
invisible companions, our hair still
slightly damp from the unchlorinated lake.
I had toothpaste lips, that’s what you told me
while we pretended to be in the middle
of a crowded dance floor, spinning happily,

your hair in loose braids, your face perfectly pale,
the face of an apostle or a saint.
TV watching got us aroused when Happy
Days was on; we never worried about
what the sisters told us, believing
that God was something made up by lunatics.
We made up names for ourselves, hating Judith
and Molly, the dumbest names we’d ever heard,
instead I was Edrea and you Amira,

names like poetry. Without you I thought
my life would be blank; you gave me my voice.
I was so young that I still believed
in happy endings. We’d walk for hours
through the cool, glowing forest behind the school,
then onto your home, the houses enlarging
and getting farther apart as we ran.
Houses with no borders, or cheap paintings.
Only expensive paintings and books

other than the Bible and Playboy magazine,
that were discussed over cocktails
after the theater. I wanted something new;
as we went in the front door, and up the stairs,
I heard the back and forth of a handsaw
and observed in the shadows your mother
and a man unknown to us, alarmingly massive
atop her, sliding and trembling
as if they had created an earthquake.

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Erin's poetry has been published in CrossConnect, Cafe Eighties, and Damaged Goods, and they have completed two workshop programs with The National Writer's Voice Project of the YMCA. They have been writing articles for a new music magazine called Rebel Route.