I was only twelve when Johnny Updike had his way with me.
Reading Couples secretly,
piano lessons through,
even then I knew
Denmark was rotting in the pocket of Connecticut.
Sifting through pretty decay,
I lay hands on the sticky thoughts of the academic prince
catch hold of his reason
peel its thick skin and carve bitter words:
buying black babies does not guarantee redemption.
Much as he tries to bathe clean in white sand
he is still haunted by the slap of bare feet in the A&P
and the false promise of tight denim will, ultimately, undo him.
Solace will not be rushed
but comes at last, extending its welcome
as he greets the poisoned tip.
All rights reserved.
I first read John Updike's COUPLES when I was 12 years old--and still haven't recovered. First published in The Onion Union as Shudders. Much refurbished since then.