Jean Valentine

High School Boyfriend

You were willing to like me, and I did something,

and blew it,

and your liking me would have saved me

and my liking you would have saved you,


that was the circle I was walking around,

pushing a bar that moved a wheel

down in the dark, holding my breath,

naked in a long hard army coat of you,

hating my feet, hating my path . . .


Today my tongue is a fish’s tongue,

kissing my friend’s light breastbone, his white down;

full of tears, full of light, half both,

nowhere near my old home: no one anywhere

is so wrong.

Jean Valentine

 Jean   ValentineJean Valentine is the author of nine books of poetry, including Door in the Mountain, New & Collected Poems (Wesleyan, 2004).  She has been a Guggenheim Fellow and was awarded the Shelley Memorial Prize by the Poetry Society of America in 2000.  She lives in New York City.
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