Lessons in LoveMature


Angela walked like a tall, thin man

arms cupped around surprising breasts

that were smuggled into underwear

in public changing rooms.

She told us of knickers flushed and

unwanted attention from BOYS.


I had neither breasts nor boyfriends. Lunchtimes

I chaperoned couplings, looked the other way

in lifts and doorways, watched their hands

from the edges of my eyes, inch

towards the breasts – real pornography

in the flesh, within their grasp.


I taught myself to play the piano

to listen, feel my way to the next note –

these boys never learned. Every afternoon

they pressed her against the same walls, kissed

for thirty seconds, then walked fingers up

her blouse and received the same SLAP.


She learned that her breasts would carry her

anywhere, with any one of the grey-flannelled Dicks

whose eyes x-rayed our white chests for swellings.

My front was flat as a boxed-shirt, itching

For that creeping touch – and I’m not sure

that I’d have been so quick with the slap.


The End

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