Tag Archives: sweet sixteen



Do you remember when you were unkissed—
dreaming and wondering what you had missed?

Your evenings too tranquil, but you were too scared
to do much about it. You just never dared

to flirt with a guy or call boys on the phone—
too shy to make any advance on your own.

You disparaged those girls who had gone on before you.
You claimed that their exploits did nothing but bore you,

but you knew, really, that they’d won the race
that established you firmly right there in last place.

Not one errant lover had attempted to con you.
No single advance had been foisted upon you.

Alone in this horrid lamentable state,
sweet sixteen and un-kissed was a terrible fate!

Then that night in the summer out under the stars,
when you stood by the roadway between your two cars

and talked for an hour with soft music streaming
from both of your cars, you thought you were dreaming

when finally it happened, and you two were kissing
you finally knew what it was you’d been missing!


Word prompts today are tranquil, disparage, kiss, foist and race.

Hometown Boys


Hometown Boys

I never knew the simple joys
of going out with hometown boys.
For me, romance was never focal
on a male who was a local.
The smart ones just aimed to debate me
but seemed to have no yen to date me;
while the ones who asked were way too slow.
Why this was, I do not know.

I may have been too brash and vocal
for any hometown country yokel,
so when I finally tied one down,
he was a boy from out of town.
Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed,
romance was something I had missed;
but we made up for lost time
with remedial work that was sublime.

So it is, I am confessing,
that mobility’s a blessing.
If what you need’s not where you are,
then I suggest you use a car.
If you cannot shop at home,
it may be necessary to roam.
Free trade’s not just for clothes and toys.
It also works for teenage boys.



The prompt today is local.

Sixteen!! The Combiners (Excerpt)

                                        Sixteen!! The Combiners (Excerpt)

This is an excerpt from a longer narrative poem in my book, Prairie Moths.  It is the final section of  “The Combiners” –a poem about the itinerant workers who would drive up from Oklahoma each summer to harvest the wheat crop in South Dakota.  This infusion of fresh young men was, of course, exciting to teenaged girls whose own male classmates were a bit immature. Not that any of us ever did anything about it.  Imagining and talking was enough for us at the age of sixteen!

combiners dance

The Combiners

I saw him first on the bleachers
on the other side of the floor.
As dancers came together and parted,
I saw him and then didn’t see him.
After the music stopped, I craned my neck
around the legs that stood in front of me,
trying to see him across the cleared dance floor.

Then the voice at the top of the legs
asked me to dance, and I looked up–at him.
Feeling uncertain, wicked and wild,
I answered yes.

I’d served him once or twice
at Restaurant 16–
that highway-fronting restaurant
as exotic as its name.
I knew he was working the Weston place
with an outfit my dad had never used.
He liked his steak well-done,
French dressing, no tomatoes.
Butterscotch sundaes made him cough.
Over the water pitcher and order pad,
we had traded a look or two.
I knew he wore Old Spice
and drank Cokes with breakfast,
but I didn’t know his name.

When we got to the dance floor,
he took my hand,
put his other hand on my damp waist.
It was a slow dance and the night was hot.
The dance was work.
I was awkward–too inhibited to get as intimate
as following in dancing requires.
Over the music, we tried to shout our names,
tried to find a mutual rhythm,
finally giving up both endeavors
to dance the slow song, not touching,
moving our arms in fast song 60’s style
to the slow song rhythms.

When the music stopped,
he walked me back again
to the bleacher
he had plucked me from,
reinserted me into the correct space in the line of girls,
smiled, and walked away.

My friends closed around me
like a sensitive plant
to hear the news.
I watched his back,
blue short-sleeved shirt,
his pressed Levis
and his cowboy boots.
I watched the Oklahoma swing of his hips–
danger on the hoof.
He wouldn’t ask me to dance again,
yet, his sun-blackened arms,so finely muscled,
had held me for a minute or two.
His bleached blue eyes
had seen something of worth in me.
He had asked my name, touched my waist,
and walked me off the dance floor.
And, since this was as spicy
as any of our stories would likely be
all summer long,
I turned to my friends to tell the tale.