False Asphalt

This is one lettuce you’re not going to squeeze, Vanilla said.
I said Vanilla who?
Vanilla ever learn? She said. She almost knocked herself out.
Honeybee called her jailbait and Vanilla said, no, jailbird. She didn’t read or write. So then the officer
went and breathed down her tee which she’d gotten at the Salvation Army, in the section of red.
What sort of doll that woman’d put in her window? As a river she dreamed of fires in the rain, as the
rain she dreamed of rafters
or a rat’s nest in her hair or a thousand islands. Now an icon: St. Jesus
uncurled his bony finger at us. Now the hollow, glazed cat. The glaze turned pink, and the black
collar faded to blue.
Some of the survivors are mix and match, she thought. The boy with one good arm chose a tee that
said HANDS ACROSS AMERICA.
I saw the ball go loose in the margins when Vanilla swooped
and Honeybee accused her of sleeping with her boyfriend
and when she yelled a cloud of Jell-O broke free like sweet boot soles
with Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee, Aunt Jemima, Little Debbies, and Thousand Island orange-flavored
dressings. It’s like fourteen.
Vanilla’s punches always came out in bold. HOLD IT MARTHA STEWART STAB YOU IN THE
BACK BITCH FUCK YOU SARA LEE. She already knew that poor girls finish last even if they
make communion or dream of boxers
or ordinary frost that wraps the hug-tight housing like a birthday treat, with a frozen valve and
deflated Santa. Well the cold knocked the wind out of him, gave him pneumonia so he slumped over
and fainted, the poor fatso was bigger than a house all January.
Couldn’t get him to dialysis so he turned yellow.
The boxer was a visionary and every time he punched someone out he saw the dead
and they came back really sweet, sweeter than Mary, sweeter than God’s mother.

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