Because you were 13. Fresh to school. Hiding on the edge of being you. Or, at least on the edge of believing a story about you being you.
Deodorant. No no no. Antiperspirant was new. A habit we hadn’t formed. You sweat when nervous. The owls. The tigers. The foxes. They all pass by.
Your arms glued down. Don’t look. Don’t look. Don’t look.
One elbow, robot bent, taking notes. And the sweat—
Drenched pits to waist. Don’t look. You knew then that love. Love was not an option. Just survive. That felt right.
That is why you needed poetry.