I wasn’t lookin’ for a first kiss. I wasn’t lookin’ for a first kiss at all. I mean what girl wants to be wearin’ crinoline petticoats anyway, all puffy and scratchy and bringin’ up welts, makin’ one look like a seafaring buoy. Like if you did get that first kiss with one of them petticoats on you must sailin’ the high seas, and then there’s seasickness. I say calm the uneasy gut gnawin’ by lookin’ to the horizon. And those creampuff sleeves that make your arms look like cherry lollipops. And wearin’ those shiny, black patent leather shoes so anyone can see your underpants causin’ you to slip and slide on any horizontal surface. Fortunately flowered bonnets are out of fashion or you might look too close on his face and see nose hair and moles, maybe even a blister where he chawed his lip. A kiss is a close thing so I probably won’t get one, won’t get me catchin’ a cold neither. I never catch cold not even the sniffles. When Pretty Boy Ames stuck out his lips and closed his eyes, I stood on the porch and counted. 1-2-3-4-5 before he opened them again. He looked downright catfish and even being a good three yards away. I offered him lemonade which he refused, his mouth open, still suckin’ air. But when I got my pole and my box of hooks, he followed me like a mangy, shamed, lapsittin’ cur to the fishing hole. I’d rather be muckin’ frogs from the pond than hooked onto his grippy lips even if he do have a Paul Newman dimple on his chin.

Nancy Cathers Demme, author of “The Ride,” has had her poetry and short stories published in Los Galesburg’s Weekend Excerpts, The Kelsey Review, US1, the Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Willard & Maple. She has been facilitator of the Twin Rivers Writers’ Group for 27 years.

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