running— scabby kneed legs pumping— ratty band aid hanging on her index finger road rash on her elbow yellow jacket sting on her shoulder and hands dirty little fingernails dirty bare feet slapping hot black asphalt heated by the relentless summer sun up one street through a backyard, up a tree, down a hill, careening through a culvert, never still until the flowers: bluebonnets buttercups indian paintbrush bees and butterflies she bats away as she picks wet stems and squishes them into bunches in her hands so that she could run back to mother an offering an apology for her presence the fact that she exists she doesn’t know she takes off running looking for that something, for that everything, that nothing she must have missed.
First Impressions Are Everything
Hemmed in, laced up, clothes layered from bottom up, panties, then tights, then slip then skirt, finished off
by shiny shoes – black patent Mary Janes not meant for running, climbing, hiking, playing with boys.
Wearing what Mother wanted, always crafting a look to her designs, silences, her rolling eyes. For a moment, producing
a quick nod, granting leave to represent her out in the world, graded, judged leaving the girl behind: her room, her truth
hidden in a pile of dirty clothes covered in mud.
Her father calls our evening dresses “lovely costumes.” He speaks my truth and doesn’t know it. Hiding in plain sight. Double dating. A means to my end. The boy is part of my pretense. Liquor loosens ties, heels discarded, Bruce urging Rosalita “to jump a little higher, Senorita come sit by my fire.” The cover of the party. The couples – all the men. No one knows my motives. The ruse pays off – the moment I lean in, wisps of her hair brushing my face, inhaling her perfume – her scent – to whisper – to be near – my lips almost touching her skin – some silly joke about that girl over there. She laughs, turns to me, smiles, asks me to light her cigarette.