Hot Tin Roof: Seventeen

Hot Tin Roof
Hot Tin Roof is a program to showcase current literary work produced in Iowa City. The series is organized and juried by representatives of three Iowa City-based cultural advocacy organizations: The Englert Theatre, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature and Little Village magazine.
By By Carol Tyx

My parents don’t want me to walk the dog after dark; I tell them I’ll be back in an hour. Slide rules rule; crushes nearly crush me. I discover the body electric—how to handle high voltage. Kissing in a cave: our lips disappear but I can still feel them. Lifting the needle on the Hi-Fi to hear Side One, Track 3 of the Bookends album: “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.” I can’t swallow the first day of school—mono. In English class Mr. Remington shoots my spirit; I don’t trust grammar rules. Sometimes Spanish makes more sense than English. I lose my wisdom teeth: this could be an omen. My sister teaches me how to use a tampon in a gas station before she drops me off at my lifeguarding job. Periods are more like dashes. One of my boyfriends is Catholic: does Mary matter as much as Jesus? The minister shocks my parents when he says he doubts the virgin birth; I’m not shocked. I do my trigonometry homework first: it’s a relief to work on a problem that can be solved. I can’t wait to leave home and I’m not sure I can. We still get Easter baskets. My mother tells me never to let a boy touch my breasts: too late for never. Physics: I can’t keep fusion and fission straight. A girl named Spider Radike confuses me: what does it mean to be “in” love? In the school play I have a small part with a big question: “Who will buy my sweet red roses, two blooms for a penny?” Floating in the dark, stars hum in my ears.

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