Wanda by Ryan J. Torres


The first girl I ever kissed
when I was 8 years old
is wanted for manufacturing
and dealing
in my home town.

Judging by her mugshot
from an arrest a year ago,
it was a more serious chemical.

Back then,
she was cute and shy.
A rose of promise.

Her father was gone,
but her mother would beat her with one of his belts
on a regular basis.
Her brother was overbearing
and protective.

There was no neck tattoo
Not luggage under her lids
No scar on her left cheek.

She was as pure
and as tan
as untouched
Puerto Rican
along Arecibo.

We were building with Legos
in the toy room
of my old house
when she leaned it
and I felt the softness of the opposite sex
for the first time upon my lips.

“If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you,”

She said with a smile,
before strolling down Chestnut street
back to Lebanon’s own little Barrio
on the other side of the train tracks.

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