She wanted to get into “behavioral analysis” like you see in the TV shows, but knew it wouldn’t quite be the same. There would be lots of hard work and lots of unsolved cases and she probably wouldn’t save as many people as TV shows like to make people believe. She was ready to have sleepless nights of stalkers in public and rapists in alleys, and she was ready to drink extra strong coffee that’s more sugar than grounds. But she wasn’t ready for actual dead bodies on slabs of table with eyes closed, but facial muscles relaxed enough to look like they were sleeping.
She wasn’t ready for dead kids to walk in her mind with eyes wide open but eyeballs with no color tracking her thoughts.
She has eyes like walnuts and he wonders if a squirrel once tried to pluck out her eyes. It would explain the scars that run up her arms, because squirrels have little claws and it would have to have scampered up to her head somehow. He wonders if a chipmunk ever mistook her for a look outpost, the way she sometimes sits still for hours on the cast iron bench, listening to whatever comes out of her wires. It would just climb up her like it would any other structure. Her earbuds look a little like cherry pits. Maybe the chipmunk once tried to go after those and that’s why she has long scars on her lobes where earrings would go.
She pulls out a notebook of half completed paragraphs and pictures clipped from the Internet and thumbs at dogeared corners. She hasn’t spied an almost forgotten line she wants to turn into 50,000 words yet…
She puts herself in front of the mirror and pulls up from her core. Her stomach flattens and her neck extends, and it’s effortless to rise to her toes, because she’s lifting up, up, up.
But then she thinks of the boys in the pictures with their flattened stomach and she lets out a breath and her skin bulges. She presses a hand to thighs that touch and feels her skin jiggle with the slightest brush. It shouldn’t be like that.
But she doesn’t know how to fix it, because she is always sad and she is always eating and she is always chosen last for groups.
Some days I can’t imagine what it’s like to be u
k today I k
Be c a beca us e situ
are falling ap
art for me.
I can’t manage my
T i ONS.
Crispy leaves blown by crispy air into a pile no one has touched. It’s outside my window and I’m waiting for the moment when someone dives into the pile. The squirrels have already plunged into the fun and the chipmunks didn’t want to get left out. But where are the humans?
It rained and then it shined and the dead moaned while the dark eyed girls pined.
Tonight the leaves in the trees are moving.
She doesn’t quite understand why there is a breeze and
Wants to know how breezes happen. Do the birds listen
To the wind to decide when to
Curl in on themselves and wait for winter to go
Up and by them? Or do they just know, intuitively?
And do you think the perfect lullaby is a bird’s sweet song?
Listen to the tree and you won’t hear the birds. The moon is up.
To look at stars at night is funny. They don’t exist anymore. The
Sweet nightingale is misnamed, because their
Songs don’t talk about night but about day. If you were
To close your eyes as you listened would you fly or
Drown in the notes that they twitter? Sometimes
Out in the sky she sees lots of birds fly but tonight
The birds are hiding and the breeze is moving. And she isn’t telling
She knows the birds have curled in on themselves.
Has the sun ever waited for a bird to sing before rising? Once she
Heard a fox eating a robin. It didn’t make a sound,
All she could hear was the flapping wings and scuffling. This
Night she doesn’t sleep because leaves are moving.
You walk past with your head raised, but eyes flickering around. Because you don’t mind seeing the girl with a toned stomach or the boy with strong arms. You try to keep your posture perfect. You never know who’s watching.
Your eyes dart to movement and you watch as the workman flicks a cigarette butt from between the cracks of the sidewalk. It flips into the air and he pockets his dull knife before catching the burnt butt. He drops it into the garbage back at his hip.
You catch his eye and he doesn’t nod hello. Because he’s caught the eye of one too many college students with frosty stares. But you nod and try to smile. He might not be in the age category you’re oogling at, but you can appreciate him just the same.
The show finishes with a standing ovation. Two, three, four bows by the cast, before the crowd begins to filter out. But the clapping continues. A lady, standing between empty seats, claps not slow but not fast. Her eyes are glued to the lower curtain, her black heels hurting her feet.
The employee with the broom comes and starts to shift trash from the aisles and the lady claps, tears track down her face. Until her hands chap and her ankles break and she finds herself reunited on stage with her old dancing mate.
He’s going to sleep in his dorm room. Alone. His roommate isn’t home; that’s what the room with the two beds and the two fans and the posters tacked on the walls and the microwave that always blinks 12:00 is.
His roommate isn’t home, he’s out at some frat party with a sharpie in hand where everyone is apparently wearing white, waiting to be written on.
He doesn’t understand his roommate. Because he likes to choose the words written on him. So he didn’t go.
He doesn’t like scribbling labels on other people’s bodies and spilling beer on girls’ boobs to try and see their nipples through shear fabric.
I am in a new house, in a new town, in a new state, with a new school. The glass containment for the two guinea pigs is in front of the new windows. They showcase the backyard of hasn’t grown grass. I’m skipping inside after shopping, hurrying to the guinea pigs, and Dad carries in the bags. I poke my head over the top, and only Snowball runs to hide in the chewed cardboard hut. I reach down to touch Midnight — I’m wearing a blue daisy dress — and she doesn’t wiggle away from my hand.
That same year, I wrap my hand around one of my grandpa’s fingers and don’t need to ask what it means.
I am in fifth grade, reading in the corner carpet reading zone, with shorts on because summers are hot. I’m done my class work early. My legs are crossed.
Over comes a boy who spits on sidewalks. He asks me why my legs are hairy. He tell me girls aren’t allowed to have hairy legs.
That night, I ask my mom for a razor and swallow fears fueled by infommercials.
My graduating class is less than 250 and we fit on the football field with more than enough room to spare. It’s a rehearsal day, sunny outside; the heat is felt by feet on turf and by backs under shirts. The gym teacher tells us all to rise. The kid next to me pulls Mason’s seat out from under him.
Then the teacher goes, “Please be seated.”
Mason takes a seat on the scorching turf. I giggle and others snicker, but no more than twenty of us notice.
They ate cookies at midnight and a game that’s like Scrabble, but not really, at one am. There aren’t classes tomorrow, but she’s nervous to no end…
There was a party she didn’t go, but her roommate did, talking about frats and named a brat and mentioned how her buzz didn’t last.
They watched girls in high heels stumble towards dorms and watched boys with blotchy red faces turn into bad flirts.
She finds herself sitting next to someone she doesn’t know, which is anything but out of the ordinary right now. So, she turns and smiles and does an awkward wave, because her hand is a little sweaty from running around during ice breaker games. She introduces herself, and he, himself. She asks about his major and about family life, because they’re just chatting before the professor starts.
She asks him about TV shows, because something rings in her head. Like she should ask about that. He tells her he doesn’t really watch anything, and her heart sinks as she realizes what the back of her brain noticed.
He looks like that actor she wouldn’t mind being fucked by.
If only he knew that TV show so she could tell him he looks just like that actor.
Then maybe he would put two and two together and realize she wants to bang him.