The First Time

Tyler Friend

The first time a girl kissed me—

I wanted to write, the first time

I kissed a girl; I had already

written, the first time a boy

kissed me. The first time

a girl kissed me, we were


in my family’s living room,

on the new couch (not the one

Ryan Buckner threw up on). Later,

we made out through the entirety

of Snow Dogs, into the morning, while my siblings

slept in the same room. The first time


a boy kissed me we were drunk

and he’d already decided

he was going home with Jake. It was a pity kiss,

really, and far too quick, on the way

to the bathroom, in the art department

of our little Catholic college.


The first time I kiss you—I wonder

if I’ll ever kiss you—I wonder

if you’ll ever kiss me, I should say—I’ll be

in a state of wonderment. We

might be dancing; we make

such pretty things. We might be


watching an old Olsen twins movie or listening

to the Thompson Twins on cassette because we both know


the truth of tape. You might tie me up

with tape, later. Are you into that? I think

you might be; I think it might be

empowering for you, but when did all this get so

intellectualized? Is there a way for instinct and intellect

to coexist? I love your brain,


but what does your body want? I love your words

when you write them.


Is resistance to polyamory a learned behavior?

Is monogamy a preexisting condition? A way

of being, not a thing to be changed? I believe every

sexual orientation occurs naturally, but I’m not sure

it’s always intrinsic. If you touch me—if I love you—

my body will respond. What does it mean?


To be gay, you don’t have to like taking it

in the ass. For the record, I like taking it in the ass.

Tyler Friend is (a) an apricot enthusiast; (b) from Tennessee; (c) the author of Ampersonate; (d) avoiding choosing a preferred pronoun.