Poem by Ona Gritz  •  Art by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

A carpenter, he explained distinctions
between wood grains, planing my
seventeen year old skin with his palm.
But I lost the words, taken instead
by how touch could undo me. The air
smelled of mangos that June night, sharp,
burningly sweet. Or maybe that was me,
my white painter’s pants peeled down.
Beside us, the ocean mimicked
my boyfriend’s motion and our breath,
on that treeless beach in Queens,
as I buried what was left of childhood.