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Seventeen

By , Flemington, NJ
This is the fifth month of the year I turn eighteen.
The weather is warm and thick in Central Jersey, ushering in the cicadas and lightning bugs. Soon, at night, the high hum of crickets will rise through my bedroom, and then it will be summer. And I know I know I’ll be at school on my birthday, taking the last high school test I’ll ever face. And I know that all I will think about is the freedom of eighteen, of the tattoos that will grace my tan ankles, of the gritty porn I can watch with my friends, of how now I can drive all night with the windows down because the A/C stings my eyes, of getting a motel room 10 minutes from the beach because I can and I’ll be eighteen and I can show them my new license. You think these things when you feel like right now isn’t enough. Because I know eighteen will be better than seventeen. Which isn’t to say seventeen hasn’t given me a lot. It gave me nights like the one at Max’s. Where we all giggled at how silly our bottles were, mine stolen from my grandma, Max from his willing parents, Jess from what her older brother had left in a Snapple bottle under the deck. Those nights I found why nighttime and vodka mix when we ran behind trees and squatted to pee, pine needles at our backs, bikinis pulled down around knees. I saw my first shooting star; his too. His finger in my curl, his hand behind my back and mouth on my throat. And I found then that the crickets tell us when to stop. It’s not that I didn’t know you were half right, I didn’t care and I found it better not to speak. Once I didn’t care about what it was that gave me confidence. When you’re young it doesn’t really matter why, just that it’s happening and finally to you. Maybe I’ll care when I’m wise with more nights of summer.



This is the fifth month of the year I turn eighteen. Already the caterpillars turn in their cocoons. Turning and turning around and turning into luna moths. And right now he is doing the same legs between legs, and finger in the curl, hand at the back, mouth on the neck with the girl in the pictures who is warm with vodka and midnight. But when they lie down, with shoulders and butts and calves imprinted with gravel. Lying in the street at an angle and absorbing every star until one comes whistling by and it is her first, it will not be his. It’s not his first but his second and fifth and eighteenth and a blur until the whole sky is a star.





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