by Chella Courington

Originally published by Soundings East

Mama warned me if I slept with a boy before marriage the Virgin Mary would snatch me away. Where I was never sure—maybe New York or Los Angeles. To a bed of satin

so smooth I’d slide into Heaven. Tony was my first. Dimple in his chin, he pinched my butt up the stairs to civics. Twenty-four steps, him right behind.

March he gave me a broken heart on a silver chain. I’ll keep the other half in my pocket for good luck. Never thought of being swooped up by Mary when I kissed Tony. Felt him

grow in my hand like giving birth to something I wanted to know. Mama believed virgins hung the moon though not a soul in our family ever stayed that way.

Cousin Lynette did whatever she wanted—the Virgin never messed with her.


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