mostly for decoration,
like the way I feel about
persimmons. You can’t
really eat them. Or you
wouldn’t want to. If you grab
the soft skin with your fist
it somehow feels funny,
like you’ve been here
before and uncomfortable,
too, like you’d rather
squish it between your teeth
impatiently, before spitting
the soft parts back up
to linger on the tongue like
burnt sugar or guilt.
For starters, it was all
an accident, you cut
the right branch
and a sort of light
woke up underneath,
and the inedible fruit
grew dark and needy.
Think crucial hanging.
Think crayon orange.
There is one low, leaning
heart-shaped globe left
and dearest, can you
tell, I am trying
to love you less.
Combinations we’d never even dreamed of:
Names too long to remember.
Dark chocolate ice cream with raspberry
cheesecake pieces and caramel bonbons,
sweet cream ice cream with bumbleberry compote
and jordan almond fudge chunks.
After rinsing our mouths with toothpaste
and slicking lip gloss over our teeth
like a film of wax, we pounded the two miles
of sweating concrete every Wednesday at eight p.m,
an army of cheap earrings and thin ankles.
We didn’t ask our mothers if we could
shave our legs, but left shreds of bloody
toilet paper like one hundred tiny flames
in the trash can for them to clean up. We wore
our t-shirts low and swinging. We ogled at the brass
chins of boys too distracted to flirt back.
We filched twenties out of our mothers’ purses
and our fathers’ worn leather wallets and blew them every
week on portions of red velvet cheesecake
supreme so big they seemed impossible.
On Sundays, we went back after swimming
in the local pool, clad in the bikinis our mothers
did not allow us to buy. We liked the way
our salted hair swung damp over one shoulder.
We liked the way this left wet spots on our t-shirts,
liked any mark we left on anything.
Workers clad in red aprons scooped ice cream
and poured caramel and bleeding
maraschino cherries over chocolates and
thick sauces, mashing them together with two
silver spoons, turning and twisting this glob
so loudly it made our teeth hurt.
All of us thirteen and shining in our new bodies.
Our hands still pink and bruised from the
chlorine clutching cardboard cups disintegrating
under the waning heat of the Midwest.
None of our mothers were dying of cancer. None
of us worried about our children perishing in motor-boat
crashes or freak accidents at bowling alleys.
The gangly workers used to go down the line
of plastic trays: sweaty gummy worms,
cookie crumbs big as pennies, red and white sprinkles,
dark and white chocolate chips, caramel sauce
glazed over from the air conditioning, and each
time they would ask us if we wanted the topping,
spoons already full and sloping.
We nodded, eyes bright and hungry.
We said yes to everything. We thought
what magnificent women we’d be.
today my nephew (who’s recently decided that he’s a wizard) came round and showed me his book of spells (a folded a4 piece of paper) - i looked at it expecting to see spells to turn people into frogs and to make you fly etc but the only thing he’d written was a spell to make people smile
and i think he must be a wizard because i smiled pretty big