On The Boys, The Men, and Those Not Quite Either
Ali Barthwell, Age 17, River Forest, Illinois
I. The Smart One
1. His arms are made of ginger ale:
Mama’s failsafe cure for a stomachache
I’ve been aching for someone like him.
He’s what they should put in college
Viewbooks, but pictures can’t capture how
his lips smell of bone: something older
and stronger than me. His mouth feels like
Nail polish: thick, smooth.
We’ve been waiting for someone like us.
A girl in glasses ardently seeking
boy made of the stuff schools like this are
built on to sit under unused lights in a room
Where a life like the one we need can bloom.