I regret that my porous old memory cannot
recall who She was. Rose? Barbara?
Definitely not Mary Grace. Though I wish.
But I see brown eyes shining in moonlight,
street light or maybe porch light.
I still feel that cold stab of fear, tempered by
hot blasts of potential embarrassment
at the very real possibility of
screwing this up and setting my life
on a path of remaining forever
the untouched one.
Girls, I’m sure, think about this moment,
dream about it, worry about it, from an early age.
Did you practice, perhaps pressing your lips
to a mouth made of your thumb and index finger,
there in your single-bed sanctum sanctorum?
A guy can’t think that far ahead, would never
give that first kiss a dry-run. It wasn’t like
rehearsing his expression of insouciant cool
in the bathroom mirror behind that locked door.
You figure one night it just happens.
Uncharted, virgin, that first feeling
of neo-carnal warmth glowing off
that girl, that woman, Her.
The smell of her recharged perfume in the dark,
heady, sweaty, intoxicating, inviting.
Then that feeling of her mouth
drawing closer, warmer, tropical,
her breath sharing mine, mine with hers.
My shaking hand on the small of her back,
hers rising to slide within the black hair
now bristling at the back of my neck.
Then you simply fall into that wet,
warm pool of flesh, that doorway
to the pounding triphammer heart,
the unknown, the soon-enough revealed.
After that, the fall becomes a climb
and dive from the high board, then another.
I still feel it, walking away, whistling
my quiet, night-time whistle through the posh,
the not-so and the not-very neighborhoods home,
my left hand touching my cheek, my lips,
the smell of her still there.
But that’s all I remember.
My dear friend Kellie Elmore asked this weekend for a free write recollection/impression of that first kiss.