withered flower with scattered petals on white surface

Exposure was the very first poem I wrote. I wrote it in 1999 when I was seventeen years old. I know, showing my age a bit here! I wrote this when I was trying to understand the true meaning of love and heartbreak.

I had just broken up with my first official boyfriend. We were youth group friends. We were the kids who got along so well everyone in our group said we should date. So, we did.

I do not even know if you can call what we did dating. The extent of our relationship was basically exchanging gifts for valentine’s day. He gave me a book of poetry by Kevin Max. I cannot remember what I gave him, probably just a card.

The only other times I remember was hanging out in his room at his house. I remember sitting on the edge of his bed just not knowing what on earth to do with myself. It was so awkward.

When we kissed, I remember thinking, where is the spark. I loved romance novels and rom com tv shows. This was nothing like that. It was like we were trying to be something we both were not. Something we both did not feel for each other. It was all an act. It led to a painless breakup.

As I sat down in my room to write this poem. I thought to myself about how I wanted this breakup to feel. I wanted that spark. I wanted that heartbreak that gutted you. I wanted to be so exposed to another person in love that when we parted I felt the layers of heartbreak fall away from me. Then the words for Exposure flowed out of me.

I eventually did have that first heartbreak later in my twenties. It felt exactly as I had imagined but that is a story for another day.

To this day, Exposure is still my favorite poem that I have written.


Like a rose you peeled me,

Layer by layer,

Trying to expose the fragrance you knew was there-somewhere,

Then when you got near the center,

You gave up and crushed the petals beneath your feet,

And let them wilt in the lonely air,

Leaving the center bare.

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