Ignition

“Ignition”
By Laurie Lico Albanese, from her book blue suburbia

I was fifteen
when I felt myself
ignite–

it wasn’t one thing
like the back of a boy’s neck
or my breasts waiting under wool
for sweaty palms to awaken their nipples

it wasn’t the way I could buy a beer in Rudy’s bar,
get behind the wheel of a car
and feel the gears shaking in my hands.

No. I ignited that spring
when I walked up and down the turnpike
looking for a job

hands folded behind my back,
fingers rubbing at the spark
each time someone said sorry
and I could hear my mother sneer.

I flew across the road heading west,
ribbon ripped from my hair
by the spray of oncoming trucks,
footprints dimming in dirt

until that boy on the Harley Davidson
put one dark boot in my path,
gunning his motor for me to alight

I slipped my legs around his hips,
dumping everything out of my handbag
right there

in front of the old Dairy Queen
I burst into flames
when I felt how fast
I could move away from home.

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