In Apple Blossom Time

Main Street, Manson, 1995

All air smells like stone, and rain is stone from under rivers; brackish. Chilled. One boy with eyes like stony water and bad hair sketched me in thick charcoal. His image colored all I saw. My hands shook, holding metal cups beneath the drive-through milkshake machine. My kingdom for my teenage girlhood all again, a neat-do over. Stretched and glittered into stripy shirts, post-work, I warmed my chilly arms on possibilities of borrowed hoodies. My small wants lived in my own infamy. In apple blossom time I got instead: pink undertones, pink petals smashed beneath the polished shoes of marching bands. Smell of pollen on the dandelions starting, slowly, in the dark. Stalls hawked yellow flowers and street whiffs of sizzled meats stalked territorially through the granite air. The lake, and love (as I imagined it) just at the edge of everything, a wave I felt break over me at distances. Local ladies wearing thin veneers of powdery delicacy sang high in church voices til their hairdos trembled. As usual I was lost in a lyric yet to be written, the question mark burning in the air before the kiss.

(excerpt from ‘What I Wanted Where,” originally published by Tiny Spoon: The Memory Issue)