Rites of Passage

by Dorianne Laux

When we were sixteen, summer nights in the suburbs sizzled
like barbecue coals,
the hiss of lawn sprinklers,
telephone wires humming above our heads.
Sherry and me walked every block within five miles that year,
sneaking into backyards, peeking through windows,
we dared and double-dared each other from behind the red
wood slats.
Frog-legged, we slid down street lamps,
our laughter leaving trails of barking dogs behind us.
One night we came home the back way,
perfectly sexy walks and feeling "cool,"
and found my little sister on the side porch,
hiding between the plastic trash bins in her nightgown,
smoking Salems,
making Monroe faces in a hand-held mirror.

Last updated December 19, 2022