General 5-23-2005

Poem of the Week: Amanda St. John

This week's poem was written by Amanda St. John, a young poet now living in Minneapolis.

Amanda St. John

He’d Tell You to Your Face

This is how it happened, Girlfriend! On the half-mile boardwalk
at Maumee Bay State Park, my thirty-seven year-old English teacher
picked a fuzzy from the shoulder
of my Ralph Lauren sweater and sneaked
his tongue passed my Wrigley’s gum.
Seventeen is a good age
to be kissed as fierce as this. Old enough
to want it; Young enough not to care
this married man was hand-picked by the Public Educational System
to instruct me. Girl! He instructed me all right,
you know what I’m sayin’? Shoo…
Well now I know this is not what my mother had in mind,
but the song of horny, red-winged blackbirds encouraged us
to run, far and fast, into the naked trees
where he played in 1952 with his friend, where
that day he piled my clothes like leaves, arrested me
against the rich top soil, snapped the delicate
twigs under my ass. Girl, he turned all my damned
preconceived notions of love on their back and stripped them down
to the animal.