~This story previously appeared in Gargoyle (2009).
Any man with a ponytail, any man twice our age: this was our thinking way back when, what passed for thinking. Any man changing the marquee after hours as we rode the streetcar past the second-run movie palace. One of us swaggered off at the next stop, dirty slush up to her ankles but so what, her baby-fat body not yet a bulb she’d blown, winter white not yet her favorite color.
In the aisle of the theater, rows of faded red velvet seats, rank and file, observing
like cattle. Forget-me-nots, in the carpet.
Spring came. She tried all things. Which when we think about it now, how quaint.
Pregnant once and never again. Cramped for weeks after.
She went away. She came back. Everyone who’d stayed looked the same, terrific, inexhaustible. She left again, and when she returned everyone had vanished. She was in need but the buildings were mute. Mother dead. Father too. The sister she never had. Cinema Lumiere an expensive isolation.
Slowly the flowers release themselves from our fingers.