Tag Archives: scaffolding


I was 12 years old
when Ryan Akers
approached me in the arcade
while I played Centipede.
I tried not to pay attention,
tried to act like I didn’t feel
anything unusual—
as if the new and unfamiliar wish
for him to touch me
was as benign
as anyone’s desire to hold a puppy.
And I don’t remember
a single word he and I exchanged
but I remember the shock
of seeing Lance kiss Amy
in the dark corridor
before we got picked up—
and the next morning in Sunday school
I watched Amy open a Dum-Dum
which she licked with a kind of pleasure
that made me certain
she wasn’t focused on the Book of Joshua
or its heroine, Rahab, the prostitute
who got exactly what she wanted.
Amy’s mind
was on the tip of Lance’s tongue—
and on the tip of mine
were words like sensual and erotic—
words that weren’t yet in my lexicon,
but their meaning was beginning
to take hold
on the scaffolding of my experience,
which wouldn’t include a kiss
from Ryan Akers—
but it was his anatomy
that first led my imagination
to cling to all the possible and varied
expressions of what I can now
identify as love.





Cropped area of “The Love Song” Norman Rockwell, 1926

To My Love

take my love
for warmth when
we must part—
keep it wrapped
around you in the day
and in the night—
or leave it
on the shelf
if you need to
re-enter the world
in your solitary state,
or if you want to
accept another
offer of affection—
put it in a box
if you get tired
of its glow
or return to sender
if it doesn’t fit
the way it should—
no strings are attached
to my gentle
ardent love—
which I hope will
become a scaffolding
for yours.







Photograph by Inge Morath, 1971