The lights went out when I was thirteen
and Rita tried to kiss me.
Thought about it, but chickened out.
Her telling me later was the offering
of a gift I didn’t get. I was flooded, then,
by the immensity of what I’d missed.
Heartache made me want her
to try again, lips searching the dark
behind a complicit light switch.
I was way too timid to ask.
The dark, porous only briefly
to the release of desire
was an opportunity missed
that would have not been painful
if not announced.
But she announced. So excitement
and disappointment became the virtues
we shared like stale toast. We were just cubs
playing at the pale reflection of love, too young
for it to mean much more. But her kiss,
made us spectators of ourselves,
the watched image its only aspect.
And the weight of loss.
Air moved my lungs like the sludge of sorrow
and the hours wasted themselves.
There she was, Rita all evening and beyond,
when all I had of her was a little light, a little dark,
and just the idea of her kiss.