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City Serenade for Love’s First Kiss

City Serenade for Love’s First Kiss

After his bubble lip bottom eats
my top lip, I smile—
a French smile, the Eiffel Tower looming
behind his Caesar cut. 
I blink and the film tears.
I’m still on the rotting back
porch in corduroy overalls
flicking his tongue as
my extra-chromosomed neighbor
pulls at his dog’s chain, his pupils dilated.
 
I ditch my thick cut glasses for chin smeared
saliva, behind Newark’s taunts.
I won’t know until later, but this is the worst
kind of ache I would receive from a boy.
Like the kind of surprised pulse you felt
your first licensed drive down Lake Street,
pumping your brakes as a neighborhood toddler
wedges his way onto the corner of the curb.
 
I hate the way this boy instructs me
in between mouthfuls, like he’s done this before.
But I continue to press in, tilt my head
the way Lily said I should.  Exchange spit,
pretend it won’t end, hold his pleather jacket tight.
 
Maybe now my legs will be less thick,
my nose less flat and round. 
I’ll know all the lyrics to their songs,
and invited down the shore
by the cool girls on Monday. 
He won’t even forget
to say hi to me in the hallway.
 
I lean in even closer. 
It’s as if a water balloon was thrown at my head,
he might as well have licked my face,
an afterschool pretzel stick he wanted to claim.
 
A ballad of wailing sirens eases
his hand on my wet cheek.
 
When he’s done, he tells me
he’ll come back next Saturday for more.
I say okay.

© Ysabel Y. Gonzalez. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 24 April 2015.