“facts” by Kerry Giangrande

it was the tenth or eleventh year of my life. i wore big soft t-shirts and never had any shoes on. there were trees along the sidewalk that we trusted to be bases during tag, specific trees that jut out of the cement like exclamation points. there was a girl that i would kiss that kissed me back. we’d kiss and kiss, touching for hours. we’d kiss under blankets at sleepovers, inside big dark shoe closets (the bumpy shoes underneath us, jutting into our girl legs and the crowded hanging clothing embracing our cheeks and faces as we moved, that we grabbed in our furies). softly or very aggressively we’d kiss in her bedroom and in the dark empty classrooms of the elementary school building on sundays after church. i would kiss her whenever i had the chance to, and when it started some unnamable new sparking force would find me and nothing could stop me from looking for my body, this new and greedy body. i swear there wasn’t a slope or curve that could fill me up. i was so hungry. these were our bodies now. no one else’s. her lips were raspberries and i was all fruit-stained and covetous. i was learning. we both were. i dare you to try and explain those first skinny-dipping kisses in the shoe closet.

we were all little-girl-knees and soft tongues, we were vlad’s lolita, nothing was dirty or impure, even all the spit was spotless. the most magnificent thing was that we were unaware, we had no idea at all, the things that were growing. everything turned delicious. that’s the thing about clean skin. that’s the thing. girl-soap air and wet hair after a whole day outside, the leftover scent was proof that we defeated the world, we were the gods and martyrs of our street. i wanted to be covered in absolutely everything.

when they found us kissing they arranged a talk with our priest. we sat in big wooden chairs with round bouncy purple cushions under our bottoms, side by side with his face across from us. i can still smell him, i can still smell the room. he spoke to us calmly about pornography and the troubles, he talked about sex and men. it was halloween. i used my special vision skills to look outside the window behind him at trees and autumn leaves while still appearing very attentive and focused on his face. i didn’t want to think about sex anymore, not here with this priest, not like this. i conversed with the maple leaves and with myself in my mind while his longish older-gentleman mouth moved carefully, more at us than to. i wondered what he really knew besides the nothings coming out of that mouth. the trees moved soundlessly. i wasn’t with either of them in that room, but outside, away. i can see you god, can you see me? my hands were folded, aware of one touching the other. it wasn’t about her anymore, something left me then. it was my tenth or eleventh year, in october. i started to write in marble notebooks all the time. the wrong god answered. it wasn’t about her anymore, or the priest or the shoe closet or the wet hair. instead it was a sooty gorgeous sickness that i still breathe in and out, every time.

Profile: Kerry Giangrande

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