First published in Baby Teeth Journal, 2020
I met a lot of the same people
when I moved back to my hometown.
The first friend I made used to sit next to me
in the cafeteria during junior high school.
I hear talk that she left to have a baby.
We went trick-or-treating in the autumn
with her beautiful little girl.
I had a threesome
with the pizza delivery guys I worked with on the hood of a car.
I was asked to buckle the little girl into her car seat
as she cried in the mall parking lot.
I’ve never been good with children,
but I liked her daughter.
We stopped one time in the crispy leaves
to look inside a maze made of haystacks.
We should run away together
(Her husband was in Iraq)
and become lesbian lovers.
—Let’s start something, I thought.
But then I thought that maybe she was sad.
I spent a lot of time in the trailer of her boyfriend’s parents,
and sometimes we would talk about the map on the wall
behind the door with a little red marker pointing out Iraq.
The little girl would cry;
she looked like her father who I also went to high school with
when he had a rat-tail. I didn’t know him too well.
There was a good culinary school in Albany.
She liked to cook.
The best words for loss:
pitted, shucked, shelled,
descale, peel, scallop
She had a gay friend in community college
that talked about Versace
the way people talk about escaping a sinking ship.
We started a clothing line made of an acronym
of our first names.
I drew out a logo on the back of a McDonald’s
take-out bag in her car.
I was looking for a subject to craft something about.
In my memories, I found something:
Cornfields full of sharp stalks,
running through rows and trying not to trip
and bear the brunt of blood wounds.
Wounded, as they’d call it: coming back from a war
or from an absence.
I was looking for a subject to craft something about;
but finding home is about as fruitless
as waiting for apple trees in winter.