The first kiss didn't matter

The first kiss didn't matter

two poems from Alicia Winokur

scene of ruin and desolation in north end after destruction of purity distilling company and nearby structures*

his pot-bittered spit rolled around
in my mouth for hours afterward.
the xenia of it all—

what is given, what is taken, what is owed.
i thanked him for it.
limped home.

humans can withstand just two
seconds under 150 degree
water before suffering third-degree

burns. thought about that as the
shower lapped away trace evidence.
had to see him every day after that.

talk about the privilege of letting
it go quickly. on to the next one.
cast a million little figurines from

plaster molds. pulled them cracked
out of the kiln. smashed them all.
felt something again.

stung like touching the prongs
of a plug. wondered how it would have
felt to had it be loving instead of. then

the party. the parade of how chill
i could be considering. the inevitable
run-in. sour breath snaked around

my shoulders, cuddled up like a
rotten old friend. eyes shiny and
drooping with stupor.

leering frame squirmed towards me.
tried to rest himself on me. turned my
insides out again. let me know it was

fun. i was fun. didn’t i think
about him sometimes? i told him

*The Boston Daily Globe, “Molasses tank explosion kills 50, injures 11” January 14, 1919.

the first kiss didn’t matter

it wasn’t with her no medusan ringlets
locked in my fingers as i fumbled
through a pre-teen dream come true instead
a boy hissing all the wrong words
mashed his paper lips against mine (and he was the experienced one)
even chickens have more precise movements than this as
they seize at little grains
but somewhere buried deep
in grey matter was a sticky image of

i. laying me down on mountain ribs
ii. tasting leftover light on her
iii. sour fingers dripping pomegranate
iv. seeds into my mouth draped in her
v. copper hair what does it feel like?
vi. shouldn’t i know better
vii. i’m new at this we
viii. stop there—

her hands gracing a hairbrush smile cracking open
to the sound of her own name i thought of that but
decided: this is what girls do with boys
in the backs of souped-up sedans in the parking lot

of a movie theatre new flesh in clumsy hands morrissey
whining through the speakers and trying to think think
think about anything other than the unholy stench of
a boy hissing all the wrong words

Art by Dina Lockridge

Dina is a mixed media artist best known for her large-scale, colorful, painted photographs that capture feminine beauty, sensuality, and empowerment. Instagram: @dinalockridge |

Alicia Winokur is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and lives in Boston with her very noisy cat. Her poetry has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry and is forthcoming in Crab Fat Magazine.