The Smooth, the Rough, and the Playfully Sweet

the sweet I long for
that won’t rot my teeth
and the rush of water
that keeps me awake.

immunity to frypan sidewalks,
the gift I know all too well
that I’ll never unwrap,
even if I kneel to pray.

fruits are like boys
if you ask a good friend
about why her palms
press hard on her face.

she’ll tell you about color,
crispness and pride,
stems that eventually curve to the left
and the taste of knowing, he’s changed.

you’ll argue and laugh
because this one’s different,
based on the fact that he’s unpeeled
though truly, all you’ve seen is a sitting flame, contained.

our Saturday

it’s barely apparent.

our tempered lives,
differing like rows
of uneven eyelashes.

however, could you find me?

head stuck between
splinters, the slot
where umbrellas pirouette.

the both of us, here.

matted ears singed
by clouded disapproval
from sleepy aunties.

spring hums far.

Cats No. 39 and 40 of the 500 Cats Project


She walks in a short red skirt,
stitched sharply like a Burberry bag
with good luck napkins hastily stashed
on the morning of her twentieth interview.

Another Chevy Tahoe rolls by,
and nervously, she shakes her head
to decline a bite to eat
as she’s full, and can’t stand strangers.

Lawyers, accountants, pharmacists
and other tall ladies in pastel scarves
do roll their eyes as she often does
in the face of finger-painted sentiments.

The digit on the left, single and pale
when there are no reasons to drive to the beach
and off-black strands to the right, so matted
where burgundy glasses almost slip off the ear.

Heels to be heard three blocks south
click closer and always, she stops to breathe
stilling herself to say, “Hello”
before my indifference to downtown ogling.

*Cat No. 38 of the 500 Cats Project

Seventh Grade, Yet to Dance

I smirk.
He yells.
She asks, “Got a problem?”

I swipe my hand across chipped paint.
Knowing I’ll brush over indentations
left behind by acrylic hangnails.

At the ankle, there’s a scar.
The time I danced in the house down the street
that clearly creaked sheepishly unclean.

Couples were laughing a sidewalk away.
My Punnett squares X’d and O’d without thought
while I giggled, forecasting mismatched features of babies undetermined.

In the same shirt as the cheerleading captain.
The one who rose from a shaky table
to tell me I tried too hard, too sad, too bad my parents weren’t respectable doctors.

Feeling the dew hit the roof of my mouth.
The stem of a dandelion split in two
like boys and girls around me, mockery’s smudged blueprint.