was how no one begged
Erica and I to make out

in her parents’ hot tub
while they were on a camping trip

in seventh grade, how she pressed
her Hawaiian Punch lips

to my Hawaiian Punch lips,
the way her skin was a velvet heaven

I knelt before
until summer break.

hair shadows dark girl
Photo courtesy of Cassoday Harder

I never wrote of the absence
of boys’ cheers

cracking with puberty,
how no cell phone cameras

festered a swarm of flashes
in our corner of the basement,

how our bodies broke
every hot bubble

so they could find each other,
the way we blamed the dark room

and the tub’s slick plastic on our bodies
crashing, and our families’ god

on why we never spoke of it again.
I only ever wrote give and sweat and jawline.

I don’t think I ever wrote want, and
I certainly never wrote her.





Kayla WheelerKayla Wheeler is a New England-based writer and performer. She is a two-time NorthBEAST Underground Team Slam Champion and represented New Hampshire at the 2013 National Poetry Slam. Her work has appeared in The BohemythDrunk in a Midnight ChoirThe Legendary, and is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will Be Shelter (Write Bloody Publishing) and Again I Wait for This to Pull Apart (FreezeRay Press). Follow her @KaylaSlashHope


Cassoday Harder is a twenty-year-old photographer inspired by youth, femininity, and summer. View more of her work on Flickr or visit her website.

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