When I was fourteen
with (oh God!) tightly permed hair
and thick glasses and braces on my teeth,
I met a boy with curly brown hair
and dark brown eyes
and braces on his teeth,
and I fell hard in love.
We rode the Flying Bobsleds
at the parish carnival,
and gravity pressed us close together,
while Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
blasted from the speakers,
and a voice in my head suggested,
“Maybe he could be my boyfriend,”
while another voice sneered,
“You? You’re too ugly.”
After the carnival,
when freshman year had started,
I was riding my bike with him
and my best friend,
turned the corner on Elm Street
and fell hard to the ground.
I grimaced at my skinned knees,
walked my bike back to my house,
where my friend and that boy
were waiting for me on my front porch,
laughing at my calamity.
I didn’t ride a bike again
for about fifteen years.
The voice in my head
telling me I was uncoordinated,
a total dork,
and I totally fell for it.