Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to support@standmagazine.org

This poem is taken from Stand 225, 18(1) March - May 2020.

Patricia Cleary Miller Two Poems
The John Harvard Charm Bracelet

Matt was tall with thick black hair; 
green eyes, curled up lashes.
We would chat after Greek poetry class,
my repartee witty, my skirts short.
I think he kissed me once or twice.
Yes, he kissed me once or twice.

At Thanksgiving he took me to a debutante ball;
he escorted another girl, Ellen,
said he still loved his high school crush, Anne.
His father looked after me all evening.

So I was the third. No matter, for his eyes
were green and his lashes curled up,
and he was tall with curly black hair.

In rustling lavender taffeta, my high school prom dress –
tulip skirt, sedately dipping bodice,  
sewed by Mother from a Givenchy design,
I was all Paris.

I danced with Matt’s father, never met the deb.
Silly Matt in white tie. His eyes were green
and his lashes curled up, and I 
was all Paris in rustling lavender taffeta.

At Christmas Matt gave me a bracelet.  
Its chain bright gold,
its John Harvard charm dark red.
I think he kissed me once or twice.
Yes, he kissed me once or twice.

After college Matt married Sally
and they have always been happy.
I see them every five years or so
and I always wear the bracelet.

This year my friend Ellie, said,
Let me see that bracelet.  
He gave it to you at Christmas?
He gave me the same one at Easter.  
Then Sally said he gave her one too.  
And also her roommate, Frances.
And perhaps some other girls,

for his eyes were green and his lashes curled up,
and he was tall with curly black hair.
I think he kissed me once or twice.
Yes, he kissed me once or twice.


When a First Time?

It was late and we were tired,
so you just kissed me goodbye
in my hallway with all the lights still on –

but you held me for a moment
and we rocked back and forth –
and you ran your hands over my heavy wool coat,

and I felt the padding of your thick parka,
and under my coat I wore a heavy wool dress,
but I imagined you could feel my body,

though all you did feel was layers and layers
of scratchy fabric, and you muttered Damn Winter,
but we kissed enough to sway back and forth,

though it was late and we were tired
and you cursed Damn Winter.
And we have never even had a first time.

This poem is taken from Stand 225, 18(1) March - May 2020.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to support@standmagazine.org
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