I will never be your beauty queen

Her hair spreads out like fire and its like she just can’t stop
and then the cops come: Doughnut guard state car rolling up along the side
With the fire lanterns burning, the sirens opened wide and they say,
“Excuse me, little miss, it’s time to take this home”
and they try to get her address, she says, “Sorry I don’t have one,
it’s only me and these feeding fields, look where you are”
She kicks at the hem of her skirt, and on go the cars.

He sits across from me like a carving in diamonds and soft, stupid gold, caught in the betrayal he wrought, delicate and final, wet, salty, and full of things I dare not speculate, not if I care to stay sane. We are at lunch, recovering from the power outage at work, offices on the same grid, the mean infinitesimal click of my machine shutting off, along with the lights. A sound like his eyelids slipping into place, the smallest of tics in the middle of the night. (Remembering, suddenly, how he cried.) I am not well, too torn, too unhappy. There was too much to gain to have it so thrown away. (Remembering, too, how he drew in ink on my flesh, how I traced the word redemption with my finger on his chest.) Watching our silence, watching words lash like justice out of me, I order an ice-cream sundae instead of a meal, a frivolous urge born of rioting self defense. Meeting him blankly, gesturing with my spoon, the ice is broken but it does not save me. It is all I can do not to leave, to leave and keep walking, to keep walking until I am half asleep, crumpled and restless, a nameless bundle treading sacred ground by the side of a highway. South maybe. East. All I can hope is that one day this will be behind me, a memory of pain my brain might not decide to keep.

She says, “Take me around and dance me outside, show me a place where we might hide.
What I want, I’m afraid, that you can’t afford to buy”

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