I flashed him an awkward metal smile
before leaning in to touch his lips
and salt his tongue with mine.
I hadn’t expected his lips to be cold.
Snowflakes caught in his black curls,
turning him old before his time.
We were losing minutes, hours, days,
standing there in the winter chill.
But that kiss was important enough
to brave the possibility of frostbite and
my father’s anger when I came home late,
pink-cheeked and trembling.
Such a tender age, thirteen, when we open,
like the hungry mouths of baby starlings
in spring, unable to feed ourselves or fly,
but just desperate enough to try.