Tina Lentz

Sex Ed

My friends’ trainers don’t come in neon shades,
but flesh cameos the color of dried leaves;
or a conservative black, that pokes through
the gauzy white veil of their blouses.
When I go home I ask my mom
what training bras are for.
She takes me to my father’s study,
sets me on the leather La-Z-Boy—
the scent: Sweat and cigarettes and dust.
She gives the talk, tells me this:
When a girl starts to bud, she becomes
a woman.

I file this away, think: I don’t like
flowers. I like toads, earthworms—muddy
I sneak into the bathroom, hide from
Mom and Dad. Lift my shirt, look in
the mirror at the small darts on my chest,
two baby-rump swells. Pinch the skin
till it turns blue. Call through
the keyhole for my brother to come in.
We’re always together like this:
mismatched Velcro. Growing up
we’d alternate between
Hot Wheels and My Little Pony—
Decide that we would both tie
in every race. When playing
make-believe I was the Prince,
who'd gallop to his rescue, save him
from an invisible web.
There’s a picture of us
lying on the floor, with our heads
together—like a conjoined twin,
black hair: a nexus of thin fibers
between us.
We used to take baths together
but now a wooden screen blocks him out.
Mom never explained
the separation. But I
have seen it before:
Hanging between his legs,
a silk cocoon.
He plays outside now, in the sun—
climbs to the top of orchard trees and eats
their fruit, lets the juice dribble
down his chin and stain his clothes.
Plays hopscotch in our father’s tracks
while I stand in the garden
at mother’s heels.
A little plot of land, perfect square,
with white picket fencing
crowds around us as she works.
The paint is flaking in places,
with several rotten pieces
of wood laying in the grass.
The chill in the ground creeps
into my feet as Mom plucks leafy greens
from the soil, throws them in a bin.
I weave through the rows, plant
my toes into the mud, remember
what it feels like—see a flower blooming.
It grows under a curtain-shroud
of long weeds, fat lassos that stroke
its stem and edge it towards the fence,
hide it behind their fluffy chests.
I hover over it, look into its cup. Then
pull the flower-bud from the ground:
A ripe bulb dangles in front of my face—
Yellow daffodil within my fist.

Tina Lentz

Tina Lentz is an undergraduate of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of English. She has poems published in the Switchgrass Review and riverSedge: A Journal of Art and Literature.