By Don Kenton Henry

Often I reflect on a memory I count among the better

And feel the fullness of her breasts beneath that cotton sweater

I feel the tenderness of her lips

The warmth of her breath upon my chest

All this

then some to come

under dim gymnasium lights

I recall the sweet taste of her mouth as she kissed me once more

It was the second kiss of my young life

I do not remember at what point it ended

Nothing of what transpired until then fades with time

Not a thing

Not all powers―either earthly or otherworldly―could have transcended us

Beyond innocence lost in what seemed but a dream

Wars were being fought around the world

Flags fell, then raised and unfurled

And there we were

Locked in a moment on that hardwood floor

Babies were born and old people died

In both cases, their loved ones cried

But no thought of things behind the arena’s door

A hallowed coliseum and only two of us inside

Men were in space and the world kept spinning 1,000 miles per hour

In the center of the court; in the paw of our regal school mascot; she opened up for me like a budding spring flower

Oblivious to our inexperience we were losing in the grip of first love’s spell

The tiger held the orchid

And the petals fell

Deep, below my lips

Deep in my genetic material

Herds of wildebeest crossed the Serengeti

The saber-tooth gave chase―deep, deep into her hips

Deep into the fertile jungle where she did lie

Somewhere in time, a wooly mammoth trumpeted

And some prehistoric relative of mine raised his club to the sky



  1. This poem is a result of my writer’s club challenge to compose a poem about “coming of age”. I cultivated it from my flash fiction, “Second Kiss” – which was culled from my consummate coming of age story – “Venus Wore Red Ball Jets”.

  2. “mr bard,”
    how wonderful to meet you monday..to hear you read this poem; as we decided, nothing extraneous, powerful imagery. am so looking forward to your short story.

    • Just saw your comment tonight, Patricia. Had I seen it previously, I would have been certain to have thanked you in person at tonight’s meeting of our writer’s club. You are such a welcome addition to our group. Your writing is wonderful and your critiques of everyone’s work the most meaningful I have heard in years. Additionally – congratulations on winning tonight’s short story contest!

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