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• At Seventeen • | by D.H.T.
I learned the truth at seventeen
that love was meant 4 beauty queens
and high school girls with clear skinned smiles
who married young and then retired
the valentines I never knew

the Friday night charades of youth
were spent on one more beautiful
at seventeen I learned the truth
and those of us with ravaged faces
lacking in social graces

desperately remained at home
inventing lovers on the phone
who called to say come dance with me
and murmured vague obscenities
it isnít all it seems at seventeen

a brown eyed girl in hand me downs
whose name I could never pronounce
said - pity please the ones who serve
they only get what they deserve
the rich relationed hometown queen

marries into what she needs
with a guarantee of company
and haven for the elderly
remember those who win the game
lose the love they sought to gain

in debentures of quality and dubious integrity
their small town eyes will gape at you
in dull surprise when payment due
exceeds account received at seventeen
to those of us who knew the pain

of valentines that came
and those of us whose names were never called
when choosing side for basketball
it was long ago and far away
the world was younger then today

when dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girl like me
we all play the game and when we dare
to cheat ourselves at solitaire
inventing lovers on the phone

repenting other lives unknown
who call and say - come dance with me
and murmur vague obscenities
to ugly girls like me, at seventeen
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