At 17
by Jennifer Lagier

Just before Haight Ashbury exploded
during the Summer of Love,
I was a high school senior,
gearing up for graduation,
dating an “older” man
of whom my mom disapproved.

We necked
in the backyard hammock,
within his Ford Mustang,
touched, experimented with sex,
kissed until we wore our lips raw.

Just before my 18th birthday,
he took me to a movie,
then a darkened almond orchard
where he slipped a diamond ring
onto my finger, nervously proposed.

My parents were furious,
his, skeptical but supportive.
I simply drifted,
saw no further
than this acceptable way
to escape my small town,
life on the ranch,
go explore a big world.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Taken in my bedroom, Escalon California, 1967.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Getting engaged and married young certainly shaped my life in ways I would never have imagined.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published 12 books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, and helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Her newest books are Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press) and Harbingers (Blue Light Press), and Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Visit her at or on facebook.

Author photo by Laura Bayless.