Following Seventeen Magazine’s Rules for Making Out
After a Late Shift at Dairy Queen
by Lisa Wiley

1. Soft lips are best. Carry lip balm.
Never use sticky gloss or gooey lipstick.

2. Relax! Odds are he’s been dying to kiss you all night.
Let him tuck the loose strands escaping your ponytail
behind your ear.

3. Agree on a radio station before you park
away from conspicuous streetlights.

4. Start with light, closed-mouth kisses.

5. Place your hands on his broad shoulders or run your fingers
through the thicket of his dark hair.

6. Limit tongue. Pay more attention to what he’s doing.

7. Once things are warmed up — don’t forget about behind the ears,
under the jawbone, forehead, collarbone dip, inside the wrist.

8. Be gentle — avoid hickeys.
Otherwise, your supervisor and parents will be suspicious.

9. Inhale the innocent mix of varsity leather and starched white Hanes
that you will never quite smell again.

10. Don’t unbutton or unzip anything.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My graduation photo, Amherst Central High School (Amherst, New York, 1990).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I dove into a pile of Seventeen magazines for inspiration and to remember what it feels like to be 17.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Wiley teaches English at Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York. She is the author of two chapbooks—My Daughter Wears Her Evil Eye to School (The Writer’s Den, 2015) and Chamber Music (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Her poetry has appeared in The Healing Muse, Medical Journal of Australia, Mom Egg Review, Rockhurst Review, Silver Birch Press, Third Wednesday, and Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine among others. She serves as a regional judge for Poetry Out Loud and has read her work throughout New York State. Visit her on Twitter.