Image by Pedro Sostre

If you touch me once more,
I will scream, mister.
You know it’s not right.

Your hand travels
crisp sheets of my camp bed,
finds my girly heart.
Then down, pulls aside
the elastic and finds another heart
beneath a barely grown garden.

Your hand rests there,
as if exhausted by the journey.

I open my legs to fit
all of your hand,
let it cradle me,
let its warmth warm
the other heart.

No. Please.
I spread myself wider.

Your weight is tipping my bed
into a steady downfall. In the morning,
I miss the warmth.

At a bonfire on the beach
in the crowd of
kids like me, adults like you,
I find your lap.

I cannot stop myself.

Your hand snakes
my faded swimsuit bottom,
finds its cradle.

I will scream.
No one will see.

I spread my legs
and the world falls away.
With it, my innocence,
my hope for normalcy.

When I think of firsts,
it is you I think of,
how you picked my fruit
before ripe, sucking
the essence out of the pit.

Oh mister, touch me once more
and I will scream.


Alina Rios grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and now lives in Seattle, Washington. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Gulliver Travel Grant. Her poetry has appeared in Rust & Moth and is forthcoming in StarLine and Camroc Press Review. Her fiction is forthcoming in Beorh Quarterly. She edits technical documentation for Tableau. To learn more or say hello, visit

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