Teenage Fantasia



after Lip Smackers



I. Bubblegum


Glum nuns class our sex with a lesson on mastication risks. Once chomped, they warn, Chiclets lose form—and every desk I jam my pink wad under is another hole in my belt. Does my gummy blob look fat stretched out? And does blowing count, all the girls wonder. My own sour reverie makes for sticky chewing: what if I wasn’t quite awake? What if no one believed me anyway. Maybe not so tricky: no take-backs they say. So I just swallow the past intact. Did you know, the girls ask, that it takes your body seven years to dissolve a gut-lump like that?



II. Dr. Pepper


Desolate means of measure call for desperate medicine dressed as pleasure. Determined to secure a proper popping this time, I shave off my shy parts and rub a burn into my skinny lips—nicks to plump me. Which way for a bitter taste to best sink in—long-savored or quick-changed? Either way, a spoonful of pain is remedy if I can feed it back to them. The ailment is congenital—girlhood—but the cure is commercial: learn to spin sugar from blood and this trauma sells itself.



III. Cookie Dough


Smart now, I coo on cue and echo mushy sound bites. Every kid knows undercooked goodies are sweetest, so I pick a make-me-up stick that says: tap my gooey center and sieve out my cute icky. Sex is food, and I practice wooing on myself—pig out then dig out the excess to leave my little pout underfed. Men hungry for girls choke on my come-hither finger, too. They sniff my virginity ruse baked into a prepubescent essence, but they forget to time my reckless rising.



IV. Fanta Orange


What the nuns should have told us: agents of rot hype a fang as sweet tooth. It’s always the bubbly ones shake me, sugared on sex and ego. Head fizzed to bitsy this time, I feel fit with a buzz and a clit, but my fountain’s open—hooch unguarded on the counter. Sparkler throat to aorta sputter: in minutes I’m a goner stoking the flame on low. My ornate fantasy gamut ranges toe to ear, but blackout fantasia is rote the second time through so I’ll spare you the parts I don’t know. Morning found me flat and tonguing a tang of old anger diffused.



V. Pink Lemonade


Having learned a limp tart is worse off than a naked one, I reapply myself: string my bikini up with a snarl and paint my face in neon strips. Only some choices are limited. Boys take pokes at puckered hips while I temper my rage with manicured tips. Joy runs thin, but my flesh packs thick with pulpy trauma. I can peel it off in strips and watch my ugly sting them. Bitters on the eyelid, my leaky wounds pry like interviews—and just like that, the gawkers all sour on me. Boys and nuns in chorus sing: put your clothes back on. A dress code cracked: coverall as cover-up when violence is unsightly. So I skin myself feminine. A tall drink of raw pink, I’m the girliest yet. My girlhood is blistering.


Rochelle Hurt is the author of two collections of poetry: In Which I Play the Runaway (2016), which won the Barrow Street Book Prize, and The Rusted City (2014), which was selected for the Marie Alexander Series in prose poetry from White Pine Press. Her work has been included in the Best New Poets anthology series and she's been awarded prizes and fellowships from Crab Orchard Review, Arts & Letters, Hunger Mountain, Phoebe, Poetry International, Vermont Studio Center, Jentel, and Yaddo. She lives in Pittsburgh and teaches at Slippery Rock University. She also runs the review site The Bind.