Kid in a Candy Shop
Daviel Shy

This is an excerpt from Shy's novel-length poem, Fantasizing the Amalfi Coast.

June asks what is my earliest memory
June, a beautiful memory in himself
we share the magic of friends who’ve seen each other
bourne each other
through difficult times

He helped me begin counting my new life
with a next-day sore asshole
and a talk through Chicago cold
that I’ll never forget
Fingertips frozen
going to pick up his truck
the morning after a party
from which Paige would begin
to not speak to me

We discuss break-ups, our natures, the future
How I want to be a friend and a lover
never again a partner
What I now, since that breach,
that then recent death
want family to look like for me

We are all dancing in June and Marc’s living room
an after party party and everything was poured out
The semester, my first in graduate school
and dancing with Paige
our oldest and best mode together
Despite the now six months of not being together
or because of it, flirting
In the kitchen, June
Maybe getting water from the sink
practical even in his woozy state
wears a white button-down
billowy, untucked
His chest unbound
apparent, loose under the shirt
having had my share of liberal outpourings
I walk right up to him
and put my hands up inside his shirt

We must’ve gone to his bed before the party cleared
At some point the phrase
“kid in a candy shop”
passes through my mind
I choose a little one
can’t remember the color
and just like that have my first anal sex

In the morning
Marc is texting June to come for brunch
and June is texting “I am about to”
which he is
my fingers around his sizable clit
“that’s what T will do for ya”
he says

By the time our headaches set in
we know we have misbehaved
June is a friend of Paige too
and there was my flirting with her
and Marc trying to get her into a cab
without looking for me in June’s room…
all in all we had been shitty friends to her.

Still somehow it was the catalyst she needed
to make the murky territory of our breakup
into stone cold non-communication till May
“Just let me graduate.”
She had said
and I was obedient
if not extreme
in carrying out her request.

But that day
accompanied by guilt and post-sex malaise
the two of us, June and myself were just kids
figuring out what we wanted from this cold planet.

We’d be buddies now
always moving furniture together
showing up again and again without obligation
Long drives and mix cds
discussing class issues
types of hotties
loving love and loving words
these things filled our errands with exuberance
and our friendship with the taste of youth.

A few months ago he was staying at my house
talking in the kitchen about how tricky it can be
finding a place for work in a life built on love
as we dried the dishes.
I think he was glad to be in Chicago for his work
away from his happy relationship
and the pressure of being someone’s everything
for a moment.

We praised each other then got shy
Halting in the hallway before heading to the couch he said—
as if there were more to say
“I always feel seventeen with you.”

Daviel Shy is an independent scholar of liberation studies. Her research focuses on utopic moments in lesbian history and thought. She makes films (, writes poetry (chapbooks available from WALLSDIVIDEPRESS, Dancing Girl Press), organizes events (L.M.N.O.P.), and teaches classes (Profile of a Radical). She is editor of the nascent publishing experiment, Slivered Almond Press.