a low ascent to adolescence’s highest peak
a voice an equal age in years but older
“I don’t think you need these”
practised hands slide trousers down unresisting legs.
Dark hair fans across pale shoulders
a not before seen expression of many imaginings
the man on top
the woman beneath
there were rumours of others, but for now this was enough.
Travel posters glimpsed and desired
an exotic destination
banter leads to booking.
cancellation rehearsed before confirmation.
The zodiac favour falls in an ambiguous arc
boy bravado expected complicit exemption
now in the rushing confusion
youth’s most desired waypoint collides
with its greatest fear – chickening out.
Nothing more shameful than loss of nerve
except loss of face
the sister of a friend
failure will not go unreported – or unpublished.
Reputation’s requiem, a chorus of sniggering begins to play
choice slinks away
the alternative is so much worse.