When you’re fifteen you can take off your clothes
and stand in front of a boy.
You do it because he looks like a famous person.
You do it because he has the same name as someone you’ll
love in twenty years. You do it because it’s all you
know to do right now.
Your knowledge of world politics and ethical veganism and
music and literature is shaky at best,
so you take off your clothes.
It’s hardly sexy.
You haven’t mastered pulling off your shirt in one fluid motion
and it’s midday so the light is harsh
and your skin is bad.
In time you’ll learn your angles.
This is just practice.
In three years that boy will drive himself into the river
and you’ll think of how he pushed your hair out of your eyes
and said you looked pretty in the blind-slatted light of his room
and how he looked so surprised when you
started to unbutton your jeans.
Nicole Mason received her MA in Literature at Northern Michigan University and currently teaches Composition and Creative Writing at Indiana University of South Bend. Sometimes she writes poems. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in SOFTBLOW, (b)OINK, Farther Stars Than These, and Cease, Cows.