Shirley Alexander

(12-05-1953 / Somewhere under heaven, Georgia, USA)

Into the Hornets’ Nest at Seagrave’s Mill


We called it Hornet Island.
Everyone knew the danger
of bees.
You and I, the brave ones,
could never resist a dare.

We decided to race it,
and I was first to reach shore.
No bees; just me
gloating a victory dance,
and you giving chase.

When you caught me,
we wrestled in the grass
beneath shrub trees;
a familiar scenario, but
we were both suddenly new.

I was fourteen, and you
two years more.
Your hand cupped my bare knee
as you leaned forward,
and green eyes became my sky.
Your mouth, in gentle pressure to mine,
was hesitant, salty, and stale sweet.

I had been kissed before;
chased on a playground,
cornered in a hallway,
surprised in a children’s game.

But, you were the first time
I lingered.
You were the first time
I wanted more.

Submitted: Sunday, June 21, 2009

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