When I was three it was from
the coldness of
my favorite flavor of ice cream.
With the added brain freeze
that made my mind numb,
so incredibly, deliciously numb.

When I was seven it was from
the nightmares that haunted me
in the middle of the night.
And dad would say
“It’s alright, just a dream”
and I believe it. For now.

When I was thirteen it was from
the beguiling fear of blood on my legs.
And mom smiled and said
“You’re a woman now”
which thrilled me because I
have wanted to be one ever since.

When I was fifteen it was from
getting caught making fun of a teacher
in class and owning up to it.
All the girls cried except for me
because no one should see me weak
or they will use it against me.

When I was eighteen it was from
a kiss from a stranger I met and saw
through strobing lights and heavy smoke.
It was the bad kind, unwelcome,
so as he kept calling my number
I never replied and went back again.

When I was nineteen it was from
the sudden kiss as we watched HBO.
Charlie St. Cloud was on, and I could
have sworn that my heart dropped
on the floor, but I knew it was the good kind.
I was, I might even say, on ‘cloud’ nine.

When I was twenty two it was from
that moment you stepped on my door
and I could have sworn you weren’t real.
So I kept chanting, “What are you doing here?”
And you said, like the know it all that you are
“What d’ya think? I came back for you.”

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