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.
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.