Made You Look
The love I hand over to friendships is fluffy, pink icing.
For the boys along the fence, it’s cavities.
They’re out there swinging bats and spitting tobacco.
And I stride by, my skirt pleated.
Whistles do me right.
Who is looking at me- through me- the hardest?
I lock eyes on the buzz-cut gas attendant.
He’s glancing down at his tube socks, kicking the infield clay.
“Come over here. I have a few quarters left for the arcade. You can share,” I say.
His friends synchronize in an “ooooh” and I roll my eyes.
“Come on,” I demand, grabbing him by the hand.
I didn’t really have any quarters left, but he didn’t ask about them.
Soon we were walking, picking up the pace.
We were headed toward the docks and taking turns laughing uncomfortably at nothing.
“Why is rain so fragrant?” I asked.
“The rain. What makes it smell so… soily?”
“You’re such a weirdo.”
We didn’t talk to each other during the remaining footsteps that lead to the water’s edge.
The only time he said anything was was when he tripped over some rocks that looked like they were embezzled from the moon, and he started cursing at them.
There’s a temperature that is not cold but it’s brisk and wet and somehow foreboding after it rains. It sheathed us.
My legs dangled off a raised bench and he plucked a hair that clung to the back of my shirt.
His hands, although I was curious about them, did not feel okay against my body.
I faked a cough and nonchalantly scooted down.
“What time do you have to be home?” he asked.
“Umm, well, I have to finish my biology report. It’s on nutrient cycles. I think I’m gonna focus on earthworms, probably.”
I pulled my cardigan tighter around me.
We both paused and looked around for distractions. There were boat lights traveling West.
“Why did you ask me to come here?”
“I- I wanted your company.”
“But you don’t. Not really.”
I blinked stiffly.
“Why do you say that?”
His left hand swiveled through space and gravitated toward the rear of my neck, gently cupping a handful of my hair.
I pierced his gaze with bloodshot eyes.
“I don’t understand.”
He was already gone by the time I could catch the leftovers of my breath.
A big boat honked, sounding like Canadian Geese mating, and it alarmed me.
A slow-moving derelict took a seat beside me on the bench.
She had thirsty, bottled-red tendrils, and a jaw that appeared to be eaten away by methamphetamine. She smacked her lips together and groaned.
Opening a snack pouch, she said, “Do you want some of these peanuts? You won’t like em’ if you hate spicy stuff, though.”
I looked away.