by Claire Ibarra

Spicy-sweet Coca-Cola gummies, slippery and sleek, glided
across my teeth while hanging out at Marcy’s Candy Shop.

We were Charlie’s Angels, I was Farrah Fawcett, or so I desired
to be that woman on the poster. We wore dark sunglasses and
carried Hello Kitty pads to take notes on our secret missions.

You were Jaclyn Smith, with long brown hair, hazel eyes,
wearing flair polyester. We took notes on your sister.
We watched her like detectives, convinced that she was
some kind of crazy. She became our Kate Jackson.

We packed our cheeks with massive gumballs painted
rainbow colors. Chewed on red licorice, while looping it
around our fingers. We smeared lips with cherry Smackers.

We sucked on Red Hot Tamales the night we climbed out
the window after eleven. Your sister led us to a rendezvous
with her boyfriend. Standing in the middle of the street,

I shrieked when his slimy tongue pried my lips open.
The boy we called Charlie gave us lessons. Braces
grated gums, as we took turns with our assignment.

Do you remember the flavor of a girl’s first kiss?

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Capturing the flavor of my first kiss.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For me, this poem captures a distinct time and place: summertime in Los Angeles during the 1970s. My friends and I were obsessed with candy, Charlie’s Angels, and boys — and pretty much in that order.

claire ibarra

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Claire Ibarra is a writer, poet, and photographer. Her poetry has appeared in many fine literary journals and anthologies, including The Midwest Quarterly, Words Dance, Pirene’s Fountain, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Cahoodaloodaling. She has work forthcoming in White Stag Press. Claire has worked with nonprofits, teaching poetry to incarcerated women in Florida. She is currently in the MFA creative writing program at Florida International University.