Love Letter

Kat McKinney


I remember red and blue plastic crates we hid beneath

during naptime—glancing around slyly, unable to sleep.


A record—a record! Singing Rain, rain, go away,

come again some other day.


My cheek against the glass watching grey water fall;

my small fists miss the dust of the playground.


I remember chasing you under the monkey bars

wearing edible wax lips—kiss, kiss, kiss.


I remember thinking in the second grade that no one else

could see the blackboard either. 


I remember standing with sweaty hands in the third grade,

permission slip unsigned, waiting for the paddle.


At the fourth grade honor roll pool party, you hold me under water

until your skin turns blue with my fingerprints and I surface, eyes stinging. 

I do not tell.


Later that same year, we play Batman and Catwoman, poor

freckled Jeffrey your Robin. You pull my shirt up. I don’t need a bra.


I remember needing a bra. Sixth grade. Same year I receive

my first kiss in a game of Spin-the-Bottle.


We both yell ewwwww until you grab me, plant your

mouth on mine. Fireflowers spark towards the dark treeline.


No, I added that.  That is fiction.


I remember. In the eighth grade, I learn how to break a boy’s heart.

I keep backing away from him in the pool, my eyes on you.


I move in the ninth grade. You write a letter, and I believe it,

exaggerate our relationship to all who ask.


High school goes like this:  I meet a boy; he breaks my heart;

I meet a boy; I break his heart; page to printer, repeat.



I meet a boy. This is for real. He teaches me to jump through

hoops in bed. I clean up his vomit. A future friend moves in next door,

later says she knew we were goners.


When I see your number on the ringing phone late at night,

I rest my fingertips lightly upon it, as if I might answer.