My first Valentine was an always smiling,
friendly, never-ever mean girl named Linda
she had long, blonde hair typically tied up
in bouncy pigtails bound with basic-color
rubber bands, not a shiny ribbon or the big,
gaudy, pink-plastic barrettes the snooty,
untouchable first-grade girls favored
We shared cards and candy conversation
hearts in our chair-back hanging, decorated
shoe boxes, rarely conversed ( but smiled at
each other a lot) never did we consummate
sandbox time. Mrs. Kime sat us side-by-side,
served as all-year chaperone, gave us both A’s
Fifth grade found me in a new town, school –
yet still enticed by a pretty blonde with heavily
swaying pigtails. Laure favored darker dresses
with short hemlines (which I now noticed) but
(contrary to common boy-belief of the time) her
single strap, shiny black patent-leather shoes
did indeed reflect up, didn’t show all that much.
By sixth grade I had graduated to the far more
refined, jaunty, titillating, free-swinging pony tail;
yet another blonde with even shorter hemlines
and longer legs with which to showcase them.
Peggy was far taller than I, was assigned to be my
dance partner in gym class, and I enjoyed the view
I had by rarely looking up while the music played.
That was also the year that a different tall, pony-
tailed blonde named Penny tried repeatedly to be
my Valentine (even out of Cupid season) while I
continually, nervously demurred – mostly out of
adolescent confusion at (for once) being desired,
not the in-vain pursuer; a lost Penny.
Far from being maudlin, romantic lamentations
of lost youth, they are fond remembrances; sweet,
they are, indeed, my Valentine tails of the heart.