By Bill Ayres
First, like any girl, you had to invent yourself.
You had your nose shaved thinner.
You made them plump your lips.
You had your breasts done, twice.
All this before I could take you out
to dinner and a show.
Good thing—it gave me time
to learn how to use cutlery.
I was enraged
that you shrieked when you first saw my face.
You thought I was a monster.
Though I was crudely stitched together,
it had not occurred to me
I would have to court you.
No one had told me I would have to wait,
that the doctors would have to convince you
chicks dig scars.
Our first few dates were disasters.
When you would not hold my hand
I put my fist through a table.
When we disagreed about what movie to go see
you tore the sleeve off my coat.
Can either of us say what made love happen?
We discovered we wanted to please each other.
We took a chance.
It helps that we have a lot in common.
No one else we have met
started out with all their teeth and hair.
The noise that we make
when we argue in public
frightens people. They run for their lives.
If, instead, they would turn and look at us,
they would see tears on our cheeks.
In no time, they would understand
what it took us weeks to learn ourselves:
we are children.
Bill Ayres has worked in bookstores most of his life. This means that for decades people have sought his advice on every subject. He always has an opinion. His poems have been published in Sow's Ear, river city, Slant, and The Hollins Critic.