Our hair tameless as tumbleweeds, we hurtled into canyons,
and stood to pedal on bikes bought big for growing into.

Boys had more fun it seemed, and so we shunned our dolls
for dusty shoes and scabby knees. We smelled of sage,
and sported stabs of cactus thorns. Built forts, soared
on rope swings over rocked ravines.

But there came a day, when Susie and I rolled up
to John’s garage, where the boys played pool.
And she appeared, his sudden mother, soft-faced
in the chimerical blur of adulthood, her dark hair wrested
into a taut French twist. She extended one leg, nylon-stockinged
and flawless, tilted her foot to the seam of the driveway,
her high-heeled shoe pointed as a rapier.
She drew with her toe, a line.

“No girls beyond here,” she said.

And Susie’s brother, Rudy, the one who helped us build rafts
for our dogs to ride on the pond, leaned on his cue stick,
hand over hand like a prophet, and grinned crookedly,
as if to say, “So be it”.

We grew into junior high, wearing white socks and loafers polished
like gleaming mahogany, our Suave-washed hair pinched into ponytails,
and budding breasts arrested by Maidenform.

One morning, we witnessed John,
in our classroom window light, and the girl
with glossy sausage curls, velvet ribbons, and merciless
flat black-seed eyes hand back some trinket of affection,
a bracelet, maybe.

We felt the falling of petals like lead, saw the blush of anguish
in a boy’s face, the forbidden limits a girl met with disdain,
and no stone, steel, nor spear-sharp shoe could stop her crossing