April M. Bratten

First Kiss

With some sort of backbone
crushed like dust in a hammer’s wake,
I let that froggy-boy give me my
first kiss
in the men’s room of my Baptist church,
sloppily and immaturely
in front of the pristine mirror.

I still remember the
look of bewilderment in my eyes,
as I clutched the wet
without the dented smell
of a purple flower in my pocket,
or the gentle taste of a warm hand
in my own.

And as he groped the front of my
I thought about that summer
Hurricane Hugo destroyed my family’s
townhouse in Charleston,
and how we had to drag our belongings
through the grass and mud
to a new place,
smaller, ruder,
and somehow considerably more unstable.


April Michelle Bratten is a writer currently living in North Dakota. Her writing has recently been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She co-edits the online literary journal Up the Staircase.