--WHO KNOWS WHAT I MIGHT DO HERE
StarburstThey looked like that—minty-green, tangy lemon, plum-colored. She tugged her knee-highs, hiding the bruises like a good daughter, beckoning her first boyfriend forward.
FirestarterSummers we started fires. Twig piles, then brush fires, abandoned barns behind our trailer park, empty residences. The last one—our lives—smoldered longest of all.
Angelic CynicSlick lips, light as scarves or gossamer. He took her that way, a new Houdini, made her fly. He said, “Abracadabra,” and for once she believed.
HappenstanceIn the office elevator he smelled garlic and shrimp. She was older, her lips swollen berries. He took them, said, “Marry me,” as she swooned.
Electric RedMy daughter paints everything fire-engine red—lips, lashes, hair, nails. There’s a rough, new boy now. “Don’t worry,” she says. “He’s nothing like you, Dad.”
My daughter returns from the tropic tent with a tongue stud. She says it’s to keep her focused, clicks the bead, says, “Or maybe ecstasy.”
The power’s out, everything frozen while moonlight lifts off the lake. You take my hand and lead. You kiss me hard, say, “Shut up, stupid.”
He’s passed out, a polar bear snoring, Jimmy Fallon on TV. You empty his half-empty glass in the sink, thinking half-empty, half-full, time to leave.
My daughter visits: half-shaved head, studs where eyebrows should be, wearing torn fishnets and studded stilettoes. She lights up a cigarette and I listen.
Summers we picked fruit along with the migrants, mother sweet on the foreman, Dad just paroled, the sun a gold peach asking too many questions.