My First Curse Word

Amanda Chiado

I pledge allegiance to the war
against the United Faces of Adulthood.
My hand is on my Juicy Fruit,
pocket full of rubber band bullets,
body equal parts blood, courage
and Crush, orange soda.

And to the parents who know
no better, fed by their curiosity
for button up shirts. For which I stand?
I’m not sure, but I stand and curse
for the very first time. Damn.

I fight for the banana seat on my bike,
for the freedom in Bazooka comics.
I fight for my tree house with the sign:
          No Boys Allowed.

Don’t you tell a soul.
That hole in the ground,
dug in the deep wet of my backyard
to the left of my swing set —
It holds my secret coffee can,
my quiet, collected liberty.

You pinky swear, I tell you,
or they’ll find us, and beat us
with leather belts in the name of justice,
and they’ll make us
grow up.

AMANDA CHIADO is an MFA graduate of California College of the Arts. Her work is forthcoming or appears in Witness, Sweet, Forklift, Ohio, Best New Poets, Fence, Cranky, Eleven Eleven and others. She currently works as the Program Coordinator for the San Benito County Arts Council and she is also an active California Poet in the Schools.

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