There might have been a boy. Or maybe I was just homesick.
I cried a lot. I wanted to go home. I wanted to jump
into the lake and know what it is to drown.
I wanted to go home.
I don't remember his name, but I remember
how dirty I felt at eleven kissing a boy
behind the boat shack at a summer camp I didn't want
to attend but my mother made me and my father paid
the tuition and there I was wasting my time and wasting
all my firsts on a boy whose name I don't remember.
I was eleven. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
The night of the dance he asked me to go with him.
I thought of my brother, a few cabins down, and how hard
he'd hit me if he knew the secrets I'd collected in the night.
In the distance, young crickets learned to play the violin.
I learned how to break a boys heart.
Instead, I watched a movie about a man who became a pirate
and returned to marry his princess. She was useless,
but that's how we blondes are. We're useless unless you need
a broken heart. We're the best at breaking. Don't forget it.
On the last day I gave the boy my address. I told him to write me
everyday. I told him I was afraid of forgetting the color
of his hair, the way his skin looked under shutters of moonlight, deep
deep in the forest. I told him I was afraid of forgetting his name. He
kissed me one more time. I didn't see him again.
My mom kissed my cheek and told me how much
she missed me. She asked me if I had fun. She didn’t mean for me to cry.
In my dreams, I'm the moon's daughter and she sends me to summer camp
because it's what I wanted. In these dreams, I still meet the same boy
and he still loves me. When he asks me to dance, I can say yes
because I was born a girl. I was born to love him and my brother
approves. I don't know what a bruise looks like. I've never had
a black eye. I am the lake. I am the girl deep inside the lake, reflecting
the visage of a silver mother. I am drowning. All that kissing and I never learned
how to float.
Think plum plump thumbs plucking
every piece of me. I tried prudence
once, but I dropped it out the window
when he slammed me against the glass.
I could see the city below me, for just
a moment of light before I became
a black hole.
Matthew Fash has had work appear in Allusions, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, and Raw Art Review. They currently live in Illinois.