Camilla’s Got Creepy Legs
My first week of high school and I know bullshit.
Nobody. Nowhere, nothing, its sad,
I’m acclimating and half obsessed with the Scandinavian Vixen of my English class
Latent desire at the pit of my ample
Post-way-post baby fat tummy towers feet over
Me like a summit I’ll never have the equipment to mount
But she’s sweet and she’s friendly
And it makes me feel tolerated among absolute strangers
Tolerated enough that she acknowledges my existence
When my dad and I run into her at a hockey game-
Panthers versus Flyers, going into the night prepared for defeat-
I’m tolerated enough that she gives me an
Old friend platonic hug
That says “I recognize you from my daily life but have
No clue what your name is, still I’m graceful and you’re
Harmless and I’ve got nothing to lose by making your day”
Like we’ve met for the first time
In decades since this afternoon’s 7th period analysis of “The Once and Future King”
Right there in the parking lot enveloping me in public
In a way she’ll never do with emphasis at private school,
Let alone in private,
Just a hug lifting me off my hobbit mound.
Of course Dad sees this and thinks ‘player’,
Because he doesn’t know my social status is the corner of an otherwise empty
Table by the cafeteria’s bathroom entrance at the
Tail end of sixth period lunch, shortly before the baked potatoes
Are recycled into tomorrow’s French fries.
That is where I fold myself into an origami box and try again to mail myself to Samoa.
Like I mean something to Camilla, who won’t remember my
Name fore three more months, even though she’s copied my homework
I don’t let her cheat from me because I entertain the hopes she might jump me.
I don’t let her because when she squats in the hall to rest
My assignment on her knees while she jots down the answers
I can ravenously see the unfamiliar and often imagined enigmatic dimension
straight up her skirt.
I do it because I’m resigned to be the nice guy,
Risk-free and dependable.
A victim of Devoted Good Friend Syndrome, sure
You can tell me all about your shitty boyfriend, here’s last night’s vocab
Definitions I love you right between the adjectives ‘desperate’ and ‘despondent’.
Her hug before hockey is the kiss of death
That initiates a lingering aggravation destined to be
Revisited indefinitely during familial moments of vulnerability for years to come.
Dad sees a player, but I am a water boy.
Then its next week and dad and I are at the stoplight
And the inevitable
“So, Son. How’s that pretty girl from the hockey game?”
rears its anxiously anticipated momentum, I can
and he can say “Are you going to ask her out?”
and I need to delve into my murky first real encounter with ‘saving face’ over an unachievable feat for my Q-list Casanova.
What would dad want to hear? Been there, got my
Trophy, next in line, smack, let’s watch a submarine race
I’m the king, the killer, the slugger, the man.
And I rack my rolodex of misogyny and like a true genius
Of the inexperienced Nintendo crowd come out with:
“Camilla’s nice, but she’s got creepy legs”
and let it hang like a donkey piñata emptied of its candy without ever getting hit.
That’s right, dad. I’m too hot for Camilla’s legs.
Dad throws a curve by grunting a committal note and saying with majesty
“Well, she was a beautiful girl, and I’m sure that is not all that matters”.
She does have creepy legs. Seven foot soccer player legs. Creepy
And now I’ve committed myself to a misrepresentation that will never go away,
When my sister and her friends and their shoes adorned with faded sharpie
Declaratives of ‘men suck’ and ‘guys are scum’, and their
Post high school solidarity against the demons they rode upon the backs of as the
Kept afloat between the crests of the Third Wave.
My sister, my role model, the reason I never got
Laid, or kissed, or a date until well beyond my due, because
She made me the SNAA- Sensitive New Age Adam,
Lady, you want to know how I feel, let me show you through this hemp necklace and
The mix tape I spent last month conceptualizing for you. What?
The Indigo Girls don’t make you want to fuck me? Why not?
My sister and her liberated cadre suss me up, establish my angst, and jibe
“Adam, we thought we taught you better than that”
“Better than what?”
“Than judging a woman by the fact that you find her legs unattractive”
and I feel my Adam’s apple dislodge and roll down my throat and clunk in my scrotum as I choose between my lame options-
Do I save face with my sister or my father?
Who am I willing to disappoint more, and gargling my own salty esteem,
“Well, I can’t get past that.”
And begrudgingly settle down far a lifetime of mosquito bites at the edge
Of my ego
“What’s wrong Adam?”
“Well, I’m failing Algebra.”
“Oh, on the bright side, you’re not stuck having to put up with Camilla’s creepy legs.”
“I’m behind on my taxes.”
“At least you’re not associated with Camilla’s legs.”
“I’ve fallen out of love”
“Well, you’ll always have a shot at Camilla. That is, if you can get yourself to get over her legs.”
This for the benefit of being able to let my dad think for one
Car ride that I had integrated my manhood into a strange new culture
So effectively in so short a period of time that
I had the luxury to determine my lovers by the
Aesthetics of the calves,
The angles on their thighs,
Instead of settling as
The go-to guy for last night’s grammar sheet, willing to
Trade my heart, my kidneys, my soul, any organ for an adventure with
Camilla’s creepy legs.