Twenty-Somethings Can’t Afford Gas
Pop open tank:
$3.37 a gallon.
Insert card; remove quickly.
Regular? Plus? Premium?
Bacon, egg, and cheese Shmagelz—
breakfast at Sheetz in the same
skirt I wore last night.
I noticed your eyes were brown
for the first time yesterday.
I guess we should leave the light on more.
We make excuses (we’re twenty-something
young and beautiful mouths on the can of a Natty Light)
laughing at commitments we don’t need
and no, Lana Del Rey, he won’t, I won’t.
we’ll tie ourselves down with sheets we don’t know
and morning-after strands of hair
dressed up like birds
singing freedom from feeling anything—
(but only the caged and the courting
You’re impossibly pretty and empty,
like the fourth button on my cardigan
I forget exists until I dress in the morning
and notice it’s missing.
you take my hand absentmindedly,
I let you,
I’ll burn through you
until I get where I want to go.
Because if you pulled me in,
sober, and asked me to stay,
I’d go (running
You see my eyelids like butterfly wings
stilled on flowering cheeks,
you lie so still
hoping they’ll land on you.
But I never was anything so peaceful;
I am not the color of my cheeks.
I don’t remember stepping into this light
to read lines,
but I’ve already got the role.
You love me like stars.
You love me like looking back.
You love me like a compliment—
like I fit into you—
a seed you swallow,
plant in your esophagus—
and grow within you.
You make me a moon
just your size to eclipse your light.
(I’d rather be a shape that won’t stack with yours—
I want everything of me to show).
You reduce me to tides
And I push into you, pull away,
push you to throw your mother’s music box
out the second story window
and drive to Sunoco for a pack of Newports,
though you quit 8 months ago.
I don’t laugh like skips of sunlight
off the Swarovski crystal hung in the rearview mirror.
It’s just a sound in my throat.
Sometimes I think
you produced that sound:
stuck a nickel in my ear;
pressed play, repeat—
your favorite song.
I breathe out carbon dioxide;
I won’t breathe your oxygen.
I won’t try to give your heart a beat.
I cross my arms around my chest,
reaching nails in my back,
checking for wings.
I want to rip open my skin and show you my spine—
how it doesn’t have your signature on it,
how I’m a quarter-broken inside,
the way you are a quarter-broken inside.
How I’m breathing my way
through my own life
how that life doesn’t exist
as a completion to yours.
How to Sort Tomatoes
At the A&P my grandmother rolled her hands
over produce aisles, picking up tomatoes
checking for color, for cracks, for sunken soft spots
making sure it didn’t sink in on itself as she held it;
that the skin didn’t slide.
You keep your arms crossed
covering soft spots—
left on the windowsill past ripe.
We lay in the garden
your eyes to mine,
my eyes to the moon, then,
to the grass.
I leave my body’s impression too easily.
When I hold you,
you fold under the weight of me.
I pull your face into new expressions,
funny ones, sad ones.
I pull your fingers encircling mine.
I stare at the spaces around the sun,
checking for color, for shape, for sunspots
but it’s too bright to see.
How fast did she toss you—did she feel you sinking in—
didn’t want to be pulled down into you?
She asked why you weren’t red,
and touched your too-soon wrinkles.
She picked at you,
you pick at them;
thumbing over spots and discarding.
I’d trace your freckles with my fingertip,
but your brightness obscures
your body’s starspots.