AT SEVENTEEN

I learned the truth at seventeen

That love was meant for Beauty Queens

And high school girls with clear skin smiles

Who married young and then retired

The Valentines I never knew,

The Friday night’s charades of you

Were spent on one more beautiful,

At seventeen I learned the truth

And those of us with ravaged faces

Lacking in the social graces,

Desperately remained at home,

Inventing lovers on the phone,

Who called to say “come dance with me”

And murmured vague obscenities

It isn’t all it seems at seventeen

A brown-eyed-girl in hand-rne-downs

Whose name I never could pronounce

Said “Pity, please the ones who serve”,

They only get what they deserve.

And the rich relation hometown queen

Marries into what she needs,

With a guarantee of company

And Haven for the elderly

Remember those who win the game,

Lose the love they sought to gain

Inept ventures of quality and dubious integrity

The small town eyes will agape

At you in dull surprise

When payment due exceeds accounts received

At seventeen

For those of us who knew the pain

Of Valentines that never carne

And those who names were never called

When choosing sides for basketball

It was long ago and far away

The world was younger than today

Dreams were all they gave for free

The ugly duckling girls like me

We all played the game and when we dared

To cheat ourselves at solitaire

Inventing lovers on the phone,

Repenting other lives unknown

That call and say “Come dance with me”

And murmur vague obscenities at ugly girls like me

At seventeen! At seventeen!