Sure didn’t know it then, shouldn’t admit it now,
but I probably learned everything I know about love
way back in 4th grade when I fell in love with the most
beautiful girl in the whole wide world, or so she seemed.
Being boys who’d just read Tom and Huck’s adventures,
we used to pester the girls something awful on their way
to school, just knowing they loved all that attention,
though most the time they seemed to pay us no mind.
But Judy won my heart the day she hit my left thumb
square on with her Roy Rogers—Dale Evans lunchbox
so hard I still felt my heart pulsing three three days later,
and the whole summer every time I caught a fastball.
Seemed a sure sign she loved me, though she never said so.
Shoot, everyone knows if you love somebody enough
they have to love you back. Otherwise a guy’d be
near outta his mind to ever go falling in love with one.
Guess I didn’t learn better ‘til our class took up folk dancing
and the day our teacher decreed Lady’s Choice.
We stood cross the room, hugging the wall as best we could
feelin’ near naked and the girls smiling at us not so sweetly.
As I stood there, worrying my sweaty palms
might reveal my true feelings, Judy walked right
past my thump, thumping heart and looked
straight into the eyes of my best friend John.
Maybe I should’ve taken some small consolation
when it turned out little Sarah had a crush on me,
me being the teacher’s pet and all just ‘cuz I could read a little
and her having written a fairy tale for some children’s magazine,
but it really didn’t help none then, and it still don’t.