Blood Orange


I was born with the sun in my teeth and hair

with mercury pouring out of my fingers and toes

Unburdened with the notion of needing to be anything

at recess I practiced the sprinkler

so I could be everywhere at once

I didn’t know how beautiful I was yet


My first crush wore stacks of magazines to cover her eyes

I wrote her my most honest verse on the back of a spelling list

she showed it to the whole class and said

my hair was greasy

That pattern continued for a few years

Now I scrub the pulsing light under my skin until it runs muddy

claw at every fleck of spelling-list romance

like a scab I wear stacks of magazines

to veil the radiance of a boy

dying to do the worm


I’m a tourist, a catalog

melting down pretentious trends into a fashionable wax body suit 

I have more than one Joy Division t-shirt I pretend

I’ve read Dostoyevsky and try to use the word zeitgeist as much as I can

But it took me three weeks to get my license renewed

because I was scared

of how the picture would look

I still mark “maybe” on every Facebook event invite because

I can’t be sure if I’m really wanted there

I pretend to hate everyone so

everyone will love me


And I am just now starting

to remember what God’s smile looked like when

He poured creamsicle sky into every part of

me, now so ruddy and maroon

but I will crumble the remains of a pruning sun

in my hands, plant the seeds

in a forgotten garden

and maybe even do the sprinkler

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