[with a nod to Marie Howe's beautiful poem, "Practicing"]
I want to find the girl I used to kiss when I was 3,
the girl who would sit next to me in
daycare, giggling in my ear about nothing in particular,
as our teachers whined in vain, hush, you’re distracting the class,
and the boys would stare, perplexed at this blatant display
of affection between two girls, this off-limits
form of love, or something more pure and light hearted than
love, something like the gentle batting of eyelashes, something like
curiosity, like magnets between us, we were the
definition of inseparable, we were our interlaced
hands, we were our scrunched-up noses rubbing together,
we were not thinking of anything vile when we
pressed our mouths together, quickly, sweetly,
then pulled away, giggling again,
and we were not prepared for the disgust smeared all
across our teachers’ faces, not for the obnoxious shouts
from the mouths of the boys, as they scooted
as far away from us as they could get, not prepared to
be told to never, ever, ever kiss girls.
We sat apart from each other after that.
We grew up, we went our separate ways, and,
at my teacher’s request, we made ourselves stop.