With Red Thread
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

It was Sam who,
that summer before fourth grade,
danced with me
at the church camp dance
and asked me to walk
outside with him.
“It’s hot,” he said.
“Let’s go look at the stars.”
And I, who did not yet
understand the sweet cramping
that tendrilled deep in my gut when
Sam held my hand, said yes.
We stood there a long time,
me looking out at the stars
because that is what
we were there to do.
The night was the color
of Wisconsin violets, crushed,
and Sam, still holding
my hand murmured low, “Oh,
look over there,”
and, when I turned
my feathered head, he leaned
in quick and close
and kissed my astonished lips.
Even thirty-five years later,
I am still somewhat
unprepared as I write
what happened next,
how he sprinted away,
a gleesome hart,
how I stood there, still,
my lips apart, the soft
hands of the night
still holding the most tender
parts of me as they spilled
like fruit no one knew
was yet ripe, and the sharp
stitch of longing
so new to me
sewed itself
into my breath.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: This is the only photo I have of me as a girl . . . probably four years old, around 1973.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When was your first kiss? When someone asked me that question, it was a while before this memory came back, but when it did, I was surprised how visceral, how powerful it was. I see now that it was a major turning point in my childhood, an invitation to know my body in a new way.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poetry has appeared in O Magazine, in back alleys, on A Prairie Home Companion, and on river rocks. Favorite one-word mantra: Adjust. Visit her at www.wordwoman.com.