Because you were 13. Fresh to school. On the edge of being you. Or, on the edge of believing a story about you being you.
Deodorant. No no no. Antiperspirant was new. A habit we hadn’t formed. You sweat when nervous. The owls. The tigers. The foxes. They all pass by.
Your arms glued down. Don’t look. Don’t look. Don’t look.
One elbow, robot bent, taking notes. And the sweat. Drenched pits to waist. Don’t look.
You knew then that love. Love was not an option. Just survive. Stay alive. That felt right.
And that —
That is why you needed poetry.