I was just a girl then,
no street sense at all,
not about boys, sex or love.
My mother warned, “Beware of them;
they just want between your legs.”
My father didn’t say anything;
his voice was my mother’s,
his opinions hers.
He worked all night of 7 days,
so she spoke for both of them.
The aim was not to get pregnant.
Since she had four daughters,
the first at sixteen,
and had to marry then, she knew.
Her drive was singular,
her message the same.
Don’t let them near enough to you,
for temptation is deep and wide.
Once you start, there’s no stopping.
And when I kissed my first boy, I sighed,
his lips were soft,
and my stomach felt a jittery sick,
while his face remained stoic.
I couldn’t tell if he felt the same,
the mystery of he-ness exposed.
My world was closed,
exclusively inside my head.
I had no perspective, no insight.
I was 12 only, then.
Later, with interest running high,
I craved the unknown compelling,
like claws to the depths of me,
ripping up sacred rites of initiation,
summoning darkness before light.
Too much love for the flame,
I slunk too close, singed my wings.
He was 8 years older than I.
A former love, the one that cracked my heart,
for I couldn’t believe he would even look at me,
that he did and was so beautiful,
and I was so flustered,
as we walked along Candlewick Road,
under the moon half lit in the sky,
split by clouds,
when I repeated my mother’s words,
“I am waiting until I get married,”
which didn’t fit, but I had nothing else.
I wanted it to be right, to keep him.
I thought he’d sense a romantic heart,
the sincerity of pure intent.
But he disappeared after that night,
and I tore open, needed to throw down,
discard a piece of me to the gutter.
So when he told his drummer friend,
so much older than us, a man,
“She doesn’t give,”
and that friend took it up,
made it his challenge,
I lay down, no mistake this time,
and he prevailed.
I bled in fear.
Why didn’t she tell me,
arm me with something more,
she with no belief
but the curse?