Her birthday is next week, and she’s leaving
with a family friend for Hilton Head.
So she invited me along.
But I don’t think I can go.

I was next to her when our professor
kissed her in the auditorium. It was an experiment
to see how the other students reacted,
and I heard hollering,
but nothing catastrophic. She didn’t blush.
So I kissed her harder than the professor had.
What we shared
was not part of the experiment,
and no one made a sound. Her lips felt to my lips
like no lips I’d had before.
When I let go, she wasn’t blushing,
and her hair was more red than brown—
which I thought it had been before—
and it was growing more blonde when she leaned to me
and kissed me harder than I had kissed her
and than the professor, too, had kissed her.

There is a group of children homebound
from a week-long summer camp,
and she wants to take them out for ice cream
once they return to the orphanage.
I asked her in what car did she plan
on shuttling the children, and my dad said
not to worry about that.

I told her I had never been to the east
coast, and that’s when she invited me
to one of the Carolinas,
but I don’t think I can go.
I hardly know her.

Her hair is more blonde then the red
or the brown it used to be before,
and when for some reason she jumps into my arms,
wrapping her legs around my waist—
how is she weightless?
—her hair falls over-top her shoulder
and rests on my chest as she tells me
about her plan for the orphans.

I was driving her somewhere,
and she put her hand on my thigh.
It wasn’t sexual
at all.


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