Junior Year English

In front of me in class. The long strokes
of chalk on board. I first whispered jokes

only you could hear. When we were face-
to-face I lost my wit. Young me in headlight

love neutralized by it. Your dad was a dentist
so I polished my yellow teeth. And yours

were gleams of white that guarded words!
I wrote what you said in journals to keep

them secret in my heart. For everyone
I have since loved I keep the language.

 

(originally published in Loch Raven Review, Spring 2019)