RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Feb 21

Poem of the Week 2/21/2017

Jennifer Poteet


—– What makes the engine go? Desire, desire, desire. “Touch Me” – Stanley Kunitz

I don’t remember the name of the first boy I kissed
in the year of our nation’s bicentennial—
just his sour smell—like firewood,
and that he lived in North Arlington, New Jersey,
a town I had never seen, but thought was beneath me.
He was available, eager
and, indeed, a faint spark passed between us
as I met the tinder of his lips.
I was at summer camp, and twelve.

Later that night, Eric Gruber strolled his way
down to me, past a line of girls,
white tee shirt sleeves rolled.
Eric smoked. He was from many towns.
We kissed and caressed
on the assenting grass by the lake
until our lips and hands burned.
We were thirsty with lust; it was late August.

And now, October, some forty years later.
In my backyard, blanketed under the elms.
I don’t know what happened
to either of those boys, but I am still
that open-mouthed girl.
The leaves careen; I listen as the wind picks up.
It teases; it promises: Yes.

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