My First Kiss

I thought that my first kiss
was required for the rich boy
tearing petals from gardenias
in October, throwing them
from the old bridge into the Wharfe,
wailing that the blooms
would get more kisses from the water
than he would get from me.

He’d never asked and I
wasn’t there for the show
but the highlights were brought to me
in gossip, fast as the water
flows through the Strid.

I was at Eleanor’s party
working up the courage
to cadge kisses from the man
stealing the Jaffa Cakes, retro,
all White Musk and Rainbow.
Was I flattered by the rich boy? Probably,

and I did what was required;
left the rainbows to kiss
the rich boy’s lips, damp and cold,
as if he had kissed the water.

This is what fairytales are made of.
But months before all that,
standing two on a chair
in a Victorian dormer, trying
to see all of Wharfedale

I had whispered
to my beautiful best friend
that I was ridiculously ordinary
and the moors above the town had blurred
as she kissed me.

I clung to her on the wobbling chair
and she laughed, warm as sunshine.

Cara L McKee is from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, but now lives in Scotland and works in her
local library. Cara’s poetry has been published in places including Reach Poetry, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Speculative Book 2019, 404 Ink, and Picaroon Poetry.