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Visiting My Youth

I've been there: 1989. Puffed on Newports and snuck sips

off a stolen bottle of Jim beam. Let myself be kissed too,

by a boy with indigo eyes and braces, in a dark closet

filled with the smell of rarely worn coats and old gym shoes.

Seventh grade was like an episode of Days of Our Lives

girls as manipulative as any soap star

diva whose sole job was to seal someone's husband. Tears fell

readily as laughter bursting out our noses at lunch in a spray of chocolate

white milk, fresh in my mind today as I walk among the braced and acne-marked youth of this middle school. Looking at you I know your biggest concerns should

be the medals you'll win for track, the book report due tomorrow, or who's taking

who to the dance this Friday. I myself with twenty friends turned my parents'

upstairs bathroom into something smelling like a French brothel,

Aqua net hair spray making high heels stick to the linoleum floor,

orange lipstick plastered on never-been kissed lips,

blue eye shadow caked on unlined and unwrinkled lids,

only to be smeared away in a wash of tears when Bobby Turner

doesn't ask you to dance, or one of your friends' prudish

mom comes to the aid of your innocent lids and virgin

lips with a wet washcloth erasing two hours of hard work.

In the cafeteria, looking at all your lip glossed faces your thoughts hidden behind Wet n' Wild eyeliner, I know what you could be feeling.

I've been there: 1989. In that tiny upstairs bathroom, smelling of Ex*claimation!

and in that stuffy closed-in closet; eyes of indigo glittering off silver buttons.

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Rachel Reichhoff
Rachel Reichhoff
Read next: Poem: New Life
Rachel Reichhoff

Mom of three and GiGi to three, I have learned some hard lessons that have given Inspiration for my writing

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