How Far Did You Get?
by Christopher Bursk
Often the first question other boys would hit a boy with,
as if the kid hadn’t gone out on a date but tried to swim the English channel,
and they knew he couldn’t cross such a distance without their help,
and this was their way of helping him.
“Go on, tell us exactly how far,” not knowing yet
how to understand what a boy did with a girl,
except by measurements: how long, how often,
the precise calculations of sex.
What was a kid to say to his buddies?
“It was like grabbing hold of a boat
and being pulled aboard after treading water for days.
I lay there like someone who’d been rescued,
looking up at the stars as if they’d been part
of the search party, too,
the breeze on my neck, the whole dark sky.”
Imagine a boy telling that to his friends.
It is more than they wish to know.