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At 17 I Fell in Love
by Alarie Tennille

with a boy, yes, but this is not
his poem. First I flirted
with writing. I thought both
would last. Silly girl!

Teachers recruited me
for school newspapers. Nyeh.
Dull. Spewing out facts.
As much fun as homework.

Then Journalism’s flashy brother
stepped in. Poetry showed how
my words could flood the page
like a watercolor sunset, stretching
lavender fingers past margins.
They no longer marched like numbers
in drab uniforms.

Writing was ready for commitment.
The boy was not.

PHOTO: The author at 18 and about to leave for college. Her Romeo at the time took the photo.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The summer I was 17, I hadn’t met the mentioned boy. I didn’t know what I’d study in college either, though I was beginning to lean toward English. A five-week summer class in Creative Writing changed my life. From then on, I knew I wanted to be a writer, no, I knew I WAS a writer…just one with untried wings. A few months later, I’d be applying to the University of Virginia, which was still an all-male institution. Everything was new to me, what did I know about making life more challenging?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She misses the ocean, but loves the writing community she’s found in Kansas City, Missouri. Alarie serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Alarie’s poetry collection, Running Counterclockwise, was First Runner Up for the 2015 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence.  She’s also written a chapbook, Spiraling into Control, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Margie, Poetry East, I-70 Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, and Southern Women’s Review. Visit her at alariepoet.com.