We drove to the border just to say we pissed in the Mississippi
River, six in a car to see whether a Lifesaver makes a spark.
We danced in the headlights.
We had sex with boyfriends at the funeral home, slept with
the gym teacher. Snuck into the hot tub at the Holiday
Inn. Watched porn at Niemeyer's and went swimming and
swimming and swimming, held each other underwater too
Our mothers chain-smoked, our fathers came straight home.
Everyone spoke the same language. Everyone felt the layoffs.
We taught gymnastics at the Y, sunned on rooftops, watched
MTV in the basement.
We rode our mopeds to Burger King, ate cheese curds at
Totem Bowl. We sucked on Atomic Fireballs, gobbled Runts
by the handful.
We waterskied at Okoboji in bikinis too big for our bodies.
Were thrown over shoulders, rode piggy-backed, played
We waited outside the counselor's office trying to make the
phone ring. We moved in and out of lockers. We spit things.
We bought blue Wet-n-Wild nail polish, purple mascara,
wished for an extra quarter for Banana Yellow. We got our
We detasseled corn for Agri-Pro, Pioneer. Worked ice cream
stands, gave friends free footlongs, sang Guns N' Roses songs.
We touched each other over our jeans. We celebrated six-
month anniversaries, bought promise rings. We drove on the
wrong side of the road with the lights out.
We went to every home football game, scooped the loop, peed
in parking lots. We laughed hysterically and guessed who was
having their period.
We didn't know for certain that others had lives that weren't
like ours. We read Sweet Valley High.
We carved initials into our ankles, rode to funerals in pick-up
trucks. We knew the deceased all our lives, whose dad beat
who, whose sister got locked in the dog kennel.
Our mothers read Ann Landers and took naps in the
afternoon, watched TV from a stool next to the kitchen
We drove to Planned Parenthood, picked wedding colors. We
listened to gangster rap in the stock room, ate at Perkins and
Perkins and Perkins.
We drank in the barn, the backyard, the back room, the
bedroom, the haunted house where they filmed Twister. We
had the highest teen alcoholism rate in the state.
We let our hair bleach dry, took naps on towels, snapped
pictures of our private parts. Talked on the phone for hours,
ignored the flashing porchlights.
We shot each other with bottle rockets, drove T-top Trans Ams.
We ate salad bar with our grandmothers and dreamed in
waterbeds with tiger-striped sheets.
We avoided the meat-packing plant, walked the train tracks.
The only 22-year-old left in town bought us beer.
We promised we'd never tell. We believed everything we said.
This poem was first published in the magazine Buffalo Carp and is included in Brandi Homan's collection ‘Bobcat Country' available from Shearsman.