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A small book passed surreptitiously
from hand to hand, from sister to sister,
the science that would forestall
lascivious whisperings — a man's outsides,
a woman’s insides, graphically illustrated —
was one hand-me-down that never came to me.
My text would have to be the kids my age —
when it came to sons, the facts of life
were a father's responsibility — he was dead —
adolescence struck, then did girls,
and I was in libraries more than playgrounds —
Lady Chatterley, Jean-Paul Sartre,
Moll Flanders, Kerouac and Nietzsche,
the facts of life, the meaning of life,
for a time there, they traveled in the same circles.