panic - Megan Bealer

I panicked I liked girls

when I saw her pretty smile

and I felt it throb under my Walmart underwear.



On the stairwell in our middle school,

my best friend said,

"We all have those fears. At least

it isn't real."


It's hard even convincing yourself

that it’s real when you’re

boy crazy. But a girl wouldn't call you a whore

when you tell her she hurt you,

and that made the softness in my gut



I kissed a girl on New Year's as the ball dropped

when my boyfriend ignored me.

Her lips tasted like lavender and for a second

I didn't care that he was gone.


At the beach it was a joke,

but I spent hours convincing myself

I was straight,

while scrubbing my red cheeks with water.


At the train station,

with a temporary rainbow pasted on my arm,

the drunk laughed,

"So you're bi?"

and instead of pushing confidence through my jaw

I trembled a shaky, "I don't know."


Sometimes you're a pinkish purple,

sometimes a bluish purple,

sometimes a purple unnamed on crayons,

and sometimes you're 20 years old,

feeling like you've missed your chance to find out.


But the body is not a finish line,

and I no longer panic.