By Bunkong Tuon
I was thirteen when my friend
invited me to a party at his house.
His parents were out of town.
He showed me how to use gel
to smoothen down my black hair.
Boys in tight jeans and mullets
straightened their brightly colored shirts;
the girls had bangs and chewed gum.
I remembered my friend’s parents forbidding
him to listen to George Michael’s “Monkey”
because of its reference to masturbation, a sin.
We were into Kim and Christine Doyen,
blonde sisters with eye shadow and painted lips.
Kim was fourteen with precocious curves,
Christine was thirteen with long killer legs.
My friend chatted with Kim, while Christine
was standing all alone. I was in a corner pretending
to ignore her. Someone walked up to Christine,
who smiled and sipped Cherry Coke, fingers twirling
her hair. Then the lights dimmed. The music
changed from INXS’s “Need You Tonight”
to Madonna’s “Crazy for You.” My friend slow-
danced with Kim, while Christine had her arms around
that guy who had courage. Hands in my pocket
I slipped out the back door, vomited into an aluminum
trash can next to the garage, then walked quietly home.