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First Love 

by Pat Daneman

You are ugly. Your pants are too tight, your backpack

is always falling off your shoulder. You have met a boy.


Or a girl. Someone perfect, whose breath smells like peppermint,

whose feet are bare and dirty. You cannot turn your gaze away,


as if they are a cathedral burning to the ground, or the carcass of a horse

turned rainbow colors, all motion and buzz. 


They look at you and sigh. They have dreamed about you every night 

for the last hundred years. They know everything about you 


and are not bored. Mornings between homeroom and Spanish, 

you stand next to each other at a window dark with rain, 


each looking into the eyes of the other’s reflection, 

trying not to bleed or sing.

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