Less Sensitive Eye

This golden hour, I recognize the man on the alley porch from three jobs ago, wonder how long he’s lived there. His laughter bursts from his lips like sparrows fleeing trees, my lips so red a girl once asked after my gloss, I blushed, stuttered no defense, she cackled until I moved away. I wear tank tops, embrace the day’s last breeze then undress before windows, hope someone watches. My shoulders square in the frame. I scratch the scab fading beneath my chin’s stubble, trace the blotch yellowing my pec, dip to the purple bars of my ribs and the crescent fading black into pubic hair. Knees a little skinned but palms less raw. Last week’s bike wreck coated my mouth acidic iron. Above then below, bird or bat dropping fish from the sky—flattened by a sports car. That ocean smell, salt rot seeping until scales dragged through my nostrils. Didn’t see the pothole, flipped over handlebar and wheel, lifted clear, slow reflux in flight. My hands fanning on blacktop as if smoothing a sheet. Petal clatter. Bile kissed my tongue as I lay there. Breath. Late night and alone with the pothole, its bottom eggplant purple.


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