One of them was a towering redhead who knew

stories and lint-rivered dress shirts and alcoholic

rhinestone-denimed treadmill technicians

who knew as I drew

stems and leaves

on my thighs and knees

I was no flowering angiosperm.

He gave me a copy

of the book for my fingers to petal

with ink, and his smile dewed awake so sweet as if he knew



Another of them was American as peanut butter flagging with stars

freckled with experience, he taught me some French

I already knew as he took me past the erstwhile cat

and the frat guitarists, past the low-key-style chat

and their lingua-shackled smiles into his bedroom

that was also a conference room for seventeen

and told me that my presence was jolie,

but not me. I told myself


Another of my confessions tripped

in shoes dipped in Easter’s first rainbow yolk

from the egg whose captive cracked too soon. Smaller than the voice of a child

yet taller than myself

and older than my interest in echinoderms

he flirted with me before every other girl in the room

the brighter Rose, the daintier Sky

the end of light apparent

as his need to feed a vegetarian

deep-fried tentacles of a once-free-fathoming

squid. At least I do not have to confess

to any assent to that repellent request.


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