You may know one.
They stare boldly through us,
past our skin and our bones,
and see a little plastic boat.
They don't see the time you swung
through all of the monkey bars
without letting go. Or
the day you stopped having to
attend speech classes after years.
They can't hear the first time your
father told you he loves you.
They are carnival gunslingers,
aiming for the race,
convinced you will sail
and be their champion
of a rigged game.
I am lined up at the bar,
ready to take the next shot.
"You sure are quiet"
He is jolly and large
and smiles a lot. He
is going to show me everything
about the world and these bottles
and the exact distinction of each tile
as I vomit on the floor.
But for now I am floating.
I am a child in a dress
adorned with printed ships,
on a swing, soaring back and forth.
Girls are supposed to kick
with their legs closed and
boys with theirs open.
That's what someone said.
School was over and if I
swing and look ahead, and then
suddenly turn my sight to the left,
my stomach sinks down.
This is a rollercoaster, I thought.
But when you do it too much,
soon enough the thrill is gone.
"Where are you at in that head?" He laughs,
"Come on back",
aims his gun and
shoots me another jager bomb.
Ah, look what we've done,
these chains are tangled, tightly twisted.
My feet left the ground
and this whole body spun.
I am sick. The motion is nauseous.
But I do love my swing set.
"Aren't you having fun?"
Well, it's just...this outfit.
The ships on my dress have crashed
with the waves and are
spinning down to the ocean drain.
"No! You must keep on!" He insists,
"The race must be won!"
Snap back to the bar,
up high on this stool. He takes a shot,
says, "Isn't it great to be drunk?"
Gunned down, I drown and
this plastic boat is washed ashore.
I lie here still and empty-eyed,
the world is quiet and
lonesome when it's sober. But
I am told this is the finish line.
"I'll take you to your car" he says,
as if I could even comprehend.
He doesn't care to see that one day,
I was a girl in a nautical dress,
playing after school on a swing set.
My feet skid to a stop against the dry summer land.
A boy walked over with a honey bee and said,
"Hold it, it's okay, look, it's dead".
He dropped it in my palm, the bee woke up,
and it stung my small white hand.