First Love (Read on Writers’ Almanac 11/3/14)

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First Love

My first boyfriend was my second choice:
Beth got Gerry Jenson so I got Billy James
whose jaw hung, his tongue showing.

I looked down on Billy: girls were taller
in seventh grade. I wore his ID bracelet
and a motorcycle cap with his initials.

When we hugged, he smelled like Ivory soap,
his cheek smooth and soft—a Norman Rockwell boy.
Walking me home from school he carried my books,

and looked forward to a kiss at my door.
I knew he was trustworthy and true,
reliably mine, but Billy didn’t know me:

I’d met a tall guy who drove a Ford.
His cheeks were sandpaper rough
and he French kissed.

And on this day on my front porch,
when Billy handed me my books,
I handed him his ID bracelet

and watched his face redden, his eyes tear,
hurt bursting his seams. We both cried
soap-opera style, and Billy ran home.

In my room, I draped myself over my bed,
like an actress far away from home,
pained and in love with drama.

“First Love” by Jeanie Greensfelder from Biting the Apple. © Penciled In Press, 2012. Reprinted with permission. Purchase at Amazon

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