Number One in 1963
I was twelve.
The only child of a bitter widow.
My father – my beautiful stranger –
dead ten months.
A surprise to all of us.
Through the craziness that was my home and my body
– both turning against me without warning,
came four voices singing I want to hold your hand,
over and over from my transistor radio.
Yes! You can hold my hand!
Please hold my hand, I sing back,
ignorant of the hunger that follows
a first touch.
My mother sounds her warning: with boys
one thing leads to another
… and another.
And when I touch you I feel happy -- inside. I swoon!
Tucked in my bed, cocooned under a white canopy, I puzzle,
how awful can they be? These things that boys lead to?
Girl, you really got that something, I think you understand.
Yes! Yes, I do. I understand!
I’m sure I’ve got that something.
But my mother, my bitter mother,
I’m sure does not.