A sweet semblance of maturation seeps
from the pores of a teenaged girl who,
only after the awkward exchange
of buying tampons from a CVS clerk
(a family friend), wonders if instances
of seemingly singular embarrassment
are shared elsewhere.
What of growing older?
Showering with colder nights,
singing songs of pompadoured idols
who are singing back, but not for her,
nor anyone she knows.
All this quickly manifests,
bleeds like leaked mascara
on a phony marble desk.
Tests taken and flunked
from evenings spent tasting
someone else’s brain,
defining passion as this
fallen angel who has feasted, too,
on the mortal fruits of fuck and fondle,
subscribed to the belief
that when carnality is homework,
algebra can occupy itself
I have known this brain only
to be a pale orchid,
a little lesion on plant-stem,
exasperated by seasons’ worsts:
a ceaseless summer heat,
winter snow that does not melt.
It is only between,
in the mild months
of clouds and tepid rain,
when pain is understood
as no longer singular,
but a pivot on which
we spend our spins,
and it is only after this
that we can graduate