:garam masala:

cosmeticless
she'd known no glossy ads
like we

but knew
how to retain attention earlier
in the playground

earthyspice
before her neck and cheek and ankle
darker skin

hidden kisses
boys longed for, she received
sweet and exotic

before twelve
already was this poignant breeze
but we, artificial

would try
vainly, masking our shamefullyless selves to
imitate her.