Sixteen

By Mary Angelino

Featured Art: Japanese Iris (Large Blue Iris) by John Edwards

His dad did coke. His mom died young.
We watched porn so I could learn—
he was my first. I didn’t know enough
to do things right like other girls.

We watched porn so I could learn
to say what I did and didn’t want,
to do things right like other girls.
He filmed me almost naked once.

To say what I did and didn’t want
was a trap, an argument that didn’t stop.
He filmed me almost naked once—
he lost the tape when we broke up.

A trap, an argument that didn’t stop:
he was my first, I didn’t know enough,
he lost the tape when we broke up,
his dad did coke, his mom died young.


Mary Angelino’s poetry has appeared more recently in the Southern Humanities Review, where she received an honorable mention for the 2019 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, Rattle, The Cincinnati Review, and the Best New Poets 2017 & 2015 anthologies. She is the recipient of the Lily Peter and the Felix Christopher McKean prizes in poetry from the University of Arkansas, and of an Individual Artist Grant from the Arkansas Arts Council. She was a senior editor for Linebreak in its inaugural year. Originally from Los Angeles, she now lives in Santa Clarita, California, where she teaches Creative Writing at College of the Canyons.

Originally published in NOR 18: Fall 2015

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