I learned in D.A.R.E
about the pointy plant that grows in the ground
earned a T-shirt and a dance for a promise
That Beats in my stomach
with the nausea of Winter’s Past
That Jan. 15th the only present you could give me was walking out the door
maybe that’s why I hate the cold so much
Happy Birthday to me.
How could such a prickly piece of chlorophyll call your name louder than my begging?
something so small and unimportant they say.
It could be something much worse.
Well that’s how eight years and a stomach pump later his body was found on the 110.
It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I found out
how one little girl’s superhero
turned into the glaze-eyed man
A face so animated by adventure and politics
I use to climb up on your back
And ask you to hold me up so I could touch the sky
lent him my car one day and it came back smelling of skunk-scented oranges
still ripe in the bag as I opened up my trunk
You had told me that they were a sweet treat that we could take for lunch.
Now we both live in the same small town
he’ll never know
and I can barely watch the news
I had told you my one golden Rule.
You’d given me that side smile
and a nod
the color in your eyes glimmering
under the community college's setting sun
as we descended
down into floor 0 of G5
A year later I made out with you under the clock tower
The acrid taste of your tainted saliva made me gag.
I believed you
when you said that it wasn’t yours.
Like someone else's lies could linger in your throat.
Like someone else's screams could escape your lips
I was bestowed the gift of asthma at birth
and the curse of heartache by the putrid smoke