Sue Reynolds | HER FIRST FIRST NATIONS BOYFRIEND, Vallum Award for Poetry Honourable Mention,


That summer
she saddled a cabin of tank tops and shorts
and rode them every day.
But at night, the counsellors collected elsewhere.
She spent her time speculating:
which cigarette liked which scrunchie?
The older blonds, coasting
between semesters of limestone,
got claimed pronto.
The juniors breathed in almost
any smoke that drifted their way.
Herbie floated toward her.

Stablehand Herbie unafraid
of hooves and teeth,
impervious to blowflies and gelding,
tentative with the scrunchies,
and why not? His absent front teeth
emitted words with the gees scraped off.
She knew he was puckered for her.
At fifteen, any cigarette
was better than none.
She didn’t understand the Mexico that lay
between them until fall, when
they each returned to their bricks or boards,
promising to write.


Author’s Bio

SUE REYNOLDS is a writer and psychotherapist whose area of interest is writing for therapeutic benefit. She has won awards for her YA novel, short stories, poems, and non-fiction. She teaches writing in various settings and has led writing workshops for inmates at Central East Correctional Centre for 12 years.