t h en is n ot e r a d i c a t ed f r om n ow

Anthony Metivier

he remembered for me the first girl he had ever kissed

from the catholic school, near the hospital, and they
had met in a funny way 

there was a ravine up in the mountain that was great
for smoking without being seen packs of cigarettes 
bought with allowances, lighters stolen from dad, 
‘can I buy a smoke for a quarter?’ yes or no, you 
were always the ass who had a pack when
the others did not 

wind always moved through the ravine and the idea was
that the air would take the smell of smoke from your
clothes, so no one would know 
you could wash your hands with 
the blue soap at the gas-station 
sniff nervously at your finger tips while seated at
the dinner table wearing a clean shirt 
your jean jacket draped across your bed downstairs 
and you were sure they didn’t know 

her name was thereasa, which was fitting - 

and when we were coming down the road from the
mountain she was with her sister in the driveway 
with a basket-ball but no net 
she was wearing watermelon-print shorts 
which she had made in her sewing class 
catholic school had that too - an installation for the
life long appreciation of the needle 
(which was to be handy in the time of heroin and tattoos) 
judy was the name of her sister 
who was blonde, hiding blue eyes behind carefully
manufactured bangs 

we had no history as we descended the mountain 
we were rash with our various hungers when we saw
these two catholic girls 
did we have pot? they wanted to know 
on a school night? we teased.  it was sunday, 
our personal day of mourning 
they assured us that there was no better night,
nor ever would there be one 
‘our parents aren’t home.  come around the back. 
there’s a porch we can sit on.  i can steal a few cans
of beer - or a shot or two.  do you like tequila?’ 

that porch became a haven, even when their mom or dad
was home - or both, which was worse? 
then it was good behaviour and talk of school 
pretending to tutor about a language he did not know -
math - he liked the books, it was true, but the numbers were
rot (years later, in university, he goes out of his way to
find a reason to mince calculus with cummings) they whispered 
strange muted songs beneath assertions
of trig but the kiss didn’t happen there 
it was on a friday night after many cigarettes had
been smoked bravely out in the open air 
they first held hands, in the movie theatre 
forgetting the images even before the images had slid
past the blank screen 
‘thereasa, let’s go.  my dad’s drunk.  
he won’t hear us coming in.’ 
(years later, he watches on video that same missed
film positioned sparingly on the couch with another girl - 
but he doesn’t mention this past event, even as it
trickles through - 
not when he is in the bliss of the hair and the skin
he assumes was groomed endlessly for his supposed 
and eventual sedation) she agrees, boldly, in mock-drama 
‘i thought you’d never ask’ 

her tongue shot fiercely into his mouth like an
alarming slug so this was the texture of tastebuds 
he’d waited so long to discover 
this was the taste of his own nicotine, and 
you know what?  i can lick your gums too 
it was a strange war to wage 
and dad, upstairs, wasn’t so drunk 
after all 	

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