Submitted Date 04/12/2019

First Love
Age 17, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire, 1962
-- This is one poem, in an autobiographical series of poems, I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~


I liked girls, I liked them a lot

oddly this was seen as less
than masculine
boys weren't supposed to like girls
they were supposed to get what they could
first base, second base
they were supposed to score
and tell their friends

but I didn't really like sports
so these metaphors
weren't my cup of tea -
what I did with a girl
was our business not theirs

avoiding ridicule, I kept my ideas to myself
and instead I figured out how to see a girl
thirty miles away in Andover -
many Sundays in the spring

being a senior I knew the ropes
and used every trick
all of it with the school's permission:
I got some day trips
to count as weekends
so I could skip church
and take the early train
or when I had used up those slots
I went directly after services to the station
and came back before check-in

but that was only part of the gauntlet -
at her school even holding hands was forbidden
and students could not sit together on a couch
yet we were allowed to take long walks on school grounds
where the touch of her hand felt even sweeter

at prom weekend I brought her to the dance
gloating a bit (I have to admit)
since my classmates were stunned
that she was more than just a date

at dawn
hours before her bus
was to take her back
we took a blanket
to the river bank
where time stopped and
our schools were memories

we kissed so long and hard
that before I went to sleep
that night
I could still feel the press
of her hips and arms
as they surrounded me

along with the smell
of damp earth,
the flow of the river
and the taste of her lips

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