Mine involved boys and alcohol,
late nights, loud music and bonfires,
a little red dress I bought on sale.
I balanced on platform shoes,
etched black eyeliner around lashes,
eager to be a little more than what I was.
I used to smoke cigarettes.
It was an excuse to make
eye contact, slip away with someone,
discuss poetry — or was it
philosophy? — share a strawberry flavored
kiss, and whisper a secret or two.
There was a summer I danced
on a block at the Pulse nightclub
to Siouxsie and the Banshees
almost every Thursday night
in that little red dress with the open back
and side slit, neon light and billowing smoke.
Everyone has a summer,
but there is no reason to be dismayed
when the fall comes.
Even in autumn months,
a night or two may recapture me
to a place of little consequence.
There are still late nights
when I have a drink too many,
kiss the boys on the patio,
kiss the girls on the neck.
Smoke a cigarette from
the brand I quit years ago.
But then I watch myself in mirrors
shadowed with soot, see my city lie in dust,
wondering who else feels the chill in the air.
I’ve grown past the green of my prime,
and, although I wilt, there is a young woman
with a too loud laugh wearing a red dress
who still exists somewhere in the pit of me,
because giving in to the animal
until the sun rises can be so breathtaking.