I bit the inside of my cheek
when she told me about the birds
and bees. I had cotton candy
stuck in pre-molars and tasted blood.

She told me about the birds
and bees. It was like
a pedal steel guitar's last note
sliding a razor down my spine, ending
in 'why now?' I faked clueless well,

staring at the waves.
They were white-capped cutting
the shoreline. And the metaphor
wasn't lost to me, it filleted my feet
as I kicked off flip-flops in the sand, running.

The ocean spray stung my eyes and I cried,
not because of the salt
but how she pretended to be
my mother. Where was she
when I needed her? Not there,

Not then. Now, when it was
way too late. She'd never know.

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