By the time we met

I was sixteen

and ready for anything.

I had bargained away

my second virginity

to a friend’s


so no messy emotions

would weigh me down –

over-burdened with betrayal

as my soul was early on.


By the time we met

I was sixteen

and tired of guys who

wanted to fuck

or be friends –

I had “use me” stamped on

my forehead

in invisible ink


any predator to read.


He was funny

and sweet

and a virgin…

and I wasn’t…

any of those things.


By the glow

of his stereo

and Foreigner

waiting for a girl like you,

I suffered through

his clumsiness

and fell in love with

his laugh

and his curls

and his smell.


We were together

through my parents’

moving to

another province

and leaving me to finish my semester

and the looming


when I went to Europe.


I was his everything

up to the moment

I wasn’t

which happened to

coincide with

the moment when

I went south

to cross a picket line

to the clinic

while protesters

called me a murderer.


By the time we were over

I was sixteen

and gutted

and he did not return my calls


or reply to my letters.


I fell in love with his


and his smile

and his eyes.


I learned,

once again,

to close up –

roll up –

armadillo tough

to hold in my shame

and keep out his pain.


cried for years

on that day in March

when I learned to

walk tall,

without him,

past those who



in my face.


By the time I was ok again,

I was…

almost fifty.

(c) R. L. Elke 2016




5 thoughts on “Sixteen

    1. Thank you. Honestly, this one was the only one I hovered over the “submit” button and hesitated. I wasn’t sure if I (a) wanted to share that much (b) people were going to freak out (c) if I really cared about any of that. So I submitted and I submitted and lived in my reality. Thank you for honouring my words and heart/soul.

    1. Thank you, Angel. As I said above, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to submit this piece. I actually think I like it as one of my favorite pieces because I had to really grit my teeth to submit it. I appreciate the feedback.

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