The Long Hot Summer
That summer was when the longing began.
My diary filled up with frantic entries about boys,
Wondering when they might want me,
When a special one might love me.
I was a pale virgin with ambition,
to be brown, beautiful and desired,
like the Flake girl. Though
I never mastered eating in a seductive way. I always
like a crazed overheated dog into a cool stream. When
the power of the sun was at its peak, the sexy girls
were still applying Hawaiian Tropic
but I’d moved on to calamine lotion.
Auntie Betty said when I peeled
it would be brown underneath.
That was the summer I realised
I would never be one of those girls.
Auntie Betty bought me a long evening dress,
with brown flowers on a brown background.
I had frizzy hair like Crystal Tipps.
My friend graced a white shirt and black pencil skirt
and feather-cut hair. Two men came and chatted her up
as if I was an annoying toddler that she was babysitting.
I was so young in ’76, so much younger than my friends
but with the same longing
and more. In September, the heat dissipated.
The rains came, hard and fast.
The dreams of that summer of 'Silly Love Songs'
and 'Tonight’s the Night', faded over time.
At the first hint of Summer,
I look in the mirror and
See a middle-aged woman,
with laughter and frown lines
and brown spots.
Still yearning. Still wanting
to be one of summer's sexy girls
but would settle now
for being that pale virgin with ambition.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Valerie Titus
would be pleased to hear them.