Dusting the Books

What I knew about sex
I didn’t learn from my mother.
She gave me a book
and told me to read it,
which I did, without comprehension.
Sex, I figured,
was something embarrassing you did
at the doctor’s office
while he watched
to make sure you did it right.
That’s how you got a baby.

There was an assembly one day after school
to teach girls about periods
and other personal matters,
but you had to bring along your mother,
and mine had just had another baby
so I figured things out on my own.

Romantic love was something
that just happened to you somehow.
That’s what I guessed.
My mother never mentioned it.
She just handed me a dust cloth
and told me to get started.
I was so easily distracted
it would take me all day.

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