Fruition Ben Smith Poetry

by Ben Smith

Published in Issue No. 176 ~ January, 2012

In sixth grade

puberty started growing all around me.

The locker room revealed

you had a little hair or none at all

except for the guys with full beards and

hair on their chests.


The hairiest masturbated first

and most often.

Some confessed, “I used to do it,

but I stopped. I don’t do that kind of stuff anymore.”

But you knew

by the worn foreskin

or the old saying:

There are two kinds of liars,

those who say they tried it and stopped

and those who say they don’t do it at all.


Most of the girls had pubic hair then

and the ones I’d known K-5th grade

were budding and shedding their training bras.

They got bigger every September.

When I looked, they must have seen me staring.


Before class

4 girls encircled me at my desk.

With their breasts aimed at my eyes

they flirted with me

swiveling their chests like guns on a turret

trying to get me to look down the snub barrels of their pubescent breasts.

I felt too humiliated to gratify them.


I had examined the growth of my friends’ puberty

and compared it to my own

without feeling shamed.

But when I turned the same glance of inquisition

on the girls my age

suddenly, there was something wrong with me.


Several years later I grew hair

all over my body—wild and thick as a jungle.

Two of those girls realized they preferred

breasts to hairy chests.

I realized I could masturbate and that

my hairy face and chest could buy me beer and whiskey at fifteen years of age.

I never lied about it.

I never stopped.

account_box More About

Ben E. Smith was raised in Utah. He earned his BA in Literature at Utah State University. In addition to essay and article publications, his stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines such as Poetry Super Highway, Outcry, Poetic Voices of America, and Best New Poems. Currently, he lives in Rhode Island and is writing a memoir. He can be reached at