by Dieu


(Photo by Inez Van Lamsweerde & V. Matadin)

When you are sixteen
you know what desire is.

It’s when you stare
at his Adam’s apple
as it moves
up and down
when he talks
and you wish
you could live
In that hollow space
of his neck,
right below.

It’s when the jeans
you wear are too tight,
or your skirt is too short,
and you feel
embarrassed and
But then,
you like knowing
he’ll look at you
with that burning stare
of his
when you turn your back.

Oh my.

Scrawny and restless,
your knee jangles constantly
up and down,
because you don’t know
what to do with yourself.

You scratch at the scab
on your big toe
from when you rode your bike
wearing sandals
– which was a big mistake.
Now it’s red and purple
and swollen
and with each heartbeat
you feel it in the end
of that big toe.

Oh, you feel the pulse
of your desire
beat in your stomach
and in your limbs.

God, if he ever even smiles
at you
with those lips
that remind you
of a flower
you think you

You wonder if it’s wrong
to want to be someone’s
like you do for him.

Because, of course,
you read Virginia Woolf
and Jane Eyre,
and you see the stupidity
of girls
who become vacant
to possess
the love of a boy.

But, you can’t help yourself,

You’re sixteen
– sweet sixteen they say
– sweet as candy
So sweet you sweat

If you have too much
it’ll rot your teeth away.

But you don’t care,

You’re sixteen
and you never knew what desire was till