Hormone Apocalypse from Issue 88
Maybe it rains down as a pack
of popular eighth-grade girls
from 1984 – long bones in fiery flesh
streaking toward Earth,
meteoric hips wiggling
to Duran Duran on a silver boom box,
neon-rimmed eyes sneaking
up your shirt sleeves to catch
your unshaved armpits.
You don’t need makeup,
you have natural beauty
is their drum machine lie.
Their year came and went
without tyranny, only the Reagans –
these girls were raised on Just Say No,
on the teat of free love’s failure.
They are so pink and green
so crowned with ponytails,
so double-ear pierced, zipped up
in plaid and playing at punk,
kneeling at the communion rail
in Laura Ashley – so floral!
They are praying for the algebra
teacher to die, for you to break
your leg before dance team tryouts.
They are saved by the grace
of shoulder pads –
what do they have to fear?
Only their own squirming suppleness,
sowing boners in the back of the bus,
cruel nipples like silos
in Body Glove swimsuits.
They’ve traded training bras
and holding hands at recess
for senior-boy lust, but what they know
about sex is a pebble in the sea,
one purple cursive line on a postcard
from church camp. On satellite porn
they watch a tongue hammering
between legs and know just enough
to yearn, hands hovering over the Ouija board
in your game room, feeling subversive
while blasting a Nugent record,
strawberry-scented heads bent over
chapter 8 in the health book,
breathless for the revelation –
urethra, ovaries, fallopian tubes, penis –
playing Truth or Dare
as someone’s Big Brother,
drunk and peeing outside,
spies them through the window:
those girls prancing around the pool table
in their panties – they aren’t even
embarrassed; they love being seen.
They feel hot like lava.
And now they’re grounded
but sneaking out of the house,
tight Jordache tucked into red ropers,
silver conchos swinging, embellished
asses roaming the streets,
catfish lips sucking down beer.
They are dancing to Prince,
twining legs for the body wave,
grinding like they saw in a movie,
fighting sluts from the next town over.
They are all brains on boys,
this is the last year of their reign.
They don’t need cell phones
to shatter you – just a word
scrawled across your yearbook photo,
a pre-Internet hand tunneling mouth to ear,
wrinkled note in a locker,
dead mouse in a desk,
your weakness wafting down the hall
like their Giorgio perfume.
Whatever you did or didn’t do,
they’re cocked, loaded with a grudge,
driving you to the bunker
with their mix tapes, their squeals,
ending it all in the sweet ash
of a high-estrogen mushroom cloud.