On the Corner of 16th and Mission
Coldly wrapped around your thumb,
An old slither,
Slicing and squeezing you too tight.
It’s coiled inside,
Swelling up, an injured bee in a box. You open it.
It no longer fits you like a lottery ticket to its dimestore dynasty.
Or that tee shirt, in an oversized kind of way.
It holds to you like a red crush crown to its king;
You know the ones. With the white fur? It suits you like a king’s crown;
too small, too reminiscent of before.
When the boys try on their big kid crowns, they think they’ll be just right
But once they grow into them they find that they’re a little too tight.
Coldly wrapped around your thumb--
You remember a corner store with trash-pile windows
And the man who took a number for your bag.
There were quarter machines where mean kids stuck their gum but you pop twenty five cents out of your pocket and you’re surprised when you pop open the plastic and the silver sequined sunrise bends around your finger like fate.
Your friend pulls out twenty five as well and
To her disdain
Then she turns the contrivances’ silver switch again. and--
—an emerald green just as buzzing as yesterday’s bluegrass mom song.
She’s content with emerald
And you with sunrise.
It’s too tight now and leaves an oxidized stain now and that somehow reminds you that your heart is a pulpy fist
that’s not so pretty.
It doesn’t fit her anymore either, but she’s not quite so morbid and she copes with the green without a mechanism like smelly pink soap and
She never got why you loved your soap and
Neither did you.
You scrub the green away but it doesn’t run down the sink like loose charcoal
And you know it has to fade on its own
But you’re here all alone with your smelly pink soap and this sink so you scrub.
The men in their too tight crowns have a mint stain on their foreheads now, their heads are big contusions and the white fur is matted with a copper-scented crimson.
And the crowns don’t come off the way they used too,
coldly wrapped around their skulls.