I.

I was twenty years old
when I saw her dance like a flickering candle.
I was a lanky pock-marked chlorine-bleached bad haircut.
And she was a beauty,
in a sloshy sort of party way.
It wasn’t holy. She was too drunk-
I was drunk too.

I was drunk and horny.
I watched her stumble outside,
found her curled in the fetal position,
alone in the pine needles and dirt.
Felt the velvet of her thighs.
She was unconscious–
She smelled like beer and
watermelon shampoo

And I did the unthinkable.
Ripped her dignity with my bare teeth.
Took her pride and her sense of intimacy,
her joy, her peace of mind,
her cautious trust in men,
her sleeping with the bedroom door unlocked
for an orgasm behind a dumpster.
The sky dripped angel tears.

II.

I was eighteen when I guzzled warm foam
and crept up behind pulsing teenage bodies,
forcing my throbbing self against them
before there was a chance for introductions
over pounding music.

I was sixteen when I roared slurs from my car.
Felt my ego blooming in my chest when I
made a girl flinch on the sidewalk.
Howled with laughter ‘cause my words hit like stones
and made her fold into herself.

I was fourteen when my brother called me a faggot
because he knew I hadn’t kissed a girl yet and
he didn’t believe my summer camp story.
My face burned with shame,
my prudeness echoed off the walls,
and my friends stopped coming over.

I was twelve when I ripped the prettiest girls from magazines,
crumpled glossy celebrity curves
into a folder I pushed under my bed:
a secret sanctuary of sorts.
I only leafed through my archives
in the distilled silence of night.

I was eight when I found a spiderweb glistening with dew-
I pulled it from the rafters.
The creator watched from a lofty corner
as I parted her sticky gossamer strands,
rolled its filmy life between my fingers.
I’m not sure if I destroyed because I wanted its beauty–
or because its power frightened me.