nice dress , he says
I say, huh?
i’ve been chasing those polka-dots for a block and a half, he says
i say, oh?

the summer dress
my pig-tails
this lollipop

what flavor is that? he asks, stupidly matching his own steps to mine down the street past the stadium and heading toward the overpass that will take me home.
i pull the sucker out of my mouth; make a sound with my lips, and say plainly, flatly, orange.

sun makes people stupid

the ball of sugar sweet candy screams bright under the sun
it’s the same color as my hair

no it isn’t, he smiles, wryly, shaking his head.

he thinks i’m flirting. i’m not.

why is your mouth blue then?

i’ve never taken out my head phones: if i tell you will you go away?

he laughs and it sounds like that background noise on animal shows when they’re in the midst of way too many monkeys closed behind too many glass partitions.

i say, because i’m an alien?

why did you say it was orange?

and i’ve no idea why i’ve said what i have, instead i’m thinking about the word wildfire and all the stupid things i’ve ever done in my life. i think about the way i'm in love with the curves of my calves. i wonder if i’m combustible and if i’m only one match short of proving the point.

i say, orange is the color of encouragement and the stimulation of knowledge. it’s the color of the brave. it’s the sun. power. life.

no mention of destruction.

where are you rushing off to? he asks inappropriately as a stranger encroaching on my solitary walk after a long day.
i say, my boyfriend is waiting for me at home.

it’s not really a lie. not one i’ll ever feel guilty over.

we step still and i say, raspberry?
but why did you say it was orange?
i pause and take the hard end out of my mouth, hold it out to him and say, i was hoping the contradiction would make you go away.

and he does.


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