“Elizabeth invited me to a dinner party at her house on Beverly Estates Drive, which is a winding road above Beverly Hills. The house had been designed by architect George MacLean and had an indoor swimming pool. After dinner, Elizabeth and Montgomery Clift went for a swim. They laughed and giggled while making out in the water in front of us all. They were having a great time. Even though Monty had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, it was obvious that he and Elizabeth had been intimate. Elizabeth could seduce any man, gay or straight. She and Monty were great pals and very dear friends.” -Debbie Reynolds
i. Kids playing hooky early morning, I am the pain relief pills they hide under their tongue and spit out under the couch cushions when their mother shuts the screen door. I am the first time you skin your knee, in the rain whispering nixie weaved revenge spells down your yellow coat and your red boots (the first time you really know you are alone). I am the hand stand on the sidewalk when your elbow buckles in like lame horses fall to the canyon mouth, you are just a child. You can fly, turn invisible, speak to animals, walk through walls. Rustling, do you hear it? Yanking the baby teeth from their pink beds.
ii. You crumble under the weight of a naked black sky, feeling something skittering on your skin. Something wicked and naive. Like a spider egg. You get a mouthful of broken teeth, and lay frying sunny side up on the summer asphalt.
iii. Tonight you’re gonna learn how to fall, then get back up again. Tonight you are gonna know what it is to be exhausted. Are you okay when you fall off your daydream and end up on your back? Your eyes are red where they used to be white.
iv. you have been chewing your will to live with the aching wisdom teeth you desperately need to get pulled. you have been softening it with your saliva, but it’s 11 pm, and it’s stale now, and it tangles into your rapunzel locks in your sleep and finally gives you an excuse to cut all your hair off.
v. Last week your dentist asked if anything was bothering you, and you almost told him about the small tooth you think is growing between your tricuspids, pushing everything out of place, sending you on the verge of sonic tears and crawling on the bathroom floor with no idea where your phone is, and something out of control, and poison, and odontalgia, and dysthymia, and forgetting the Latin roots, and ripped out pages of a book that was supposed to tell you how to get back home and. how long do you think I can hold my breath before I look like a blueberry, and it is,
in me, and the throbbing red bump at the base of your sternum and how you tried to cut it off but you were too scared of what was underneath, and dandelion seeds of reasons why you should just stay here until somebody forgets you even showed up heaving out of your mouth and into a McDonalds bag, and the feeling at 13 in the bathroom stall after swim practice shaking like coffee on an empty stomach pulling out the first tampon you ever put inside, and your wet thighs, and the warm dirty smell.
Gargle, spit. You say no. Nothing really.
vi. you should get gold fillings. then all you have to do is flash a smile and no one will fuck with you.
vii. Four months until graduation we are not wasting time, but we eat it too fast and end up vomiting on the highway. On the swing, wood chip splinters, and agitation like termite fever beneath my skin. It’s not that I think the zombie apocalypse would be cool, but I could do all the things I do right now without getting sideways glances in the convenience store, or being told I’m depressed like it’s such a problem, or being treated like the splattered milk gallon on the dairy aisle linoleum. Everybody stepping back and maneuvering their shopping carts around the fresh disaster, and staring, and looking away, and ignoring what they don’t want to deal with. And not wanting the blame.
viii. I’m not depressed. It’s just winter.
ix. Is this the last weekend before the first blood? I’m not gonna do my homework anyway.
x. I’m not depressed. My brother took me into the car with the light fixture wires hanging from the ceiling like your wet hair from shower tiles. we zoomed down with Apollo laughing in the backseat and egged the big white houses in Beverly Hills and pretended like we were still the strawberry jam kids on concrete playing hopscotch, living in sandcastles, eating mudpies. Like we were not hotboxing, and taking pictures of half healed things under the band aid, and always ready to put our hands up when we hear sirens, and microwaving earthworms. And growing up too fast.
I’m not depressed. But I’m not coming back this time either.
xi. It’s a haunted Sunday in the home your parents left to rot, and the black mold spores bleeding down the buttermilk wallpaper are causing you to do unadvisable backbends. And somehow years later I am still the grocery list you are always throwing in the trash with the candy wrappers.