before I discard my sweater and jeans
to treat you to this panty-less apron,
lacy and low down the sternum
and pointless, as it bares all—
I want to know how long ago
you told her, “You are perfect.”
what it was she did,
back to the frantic lights
that speckle the street
like birthday confetti
and sequins settled across my back.
you thought I was fun,
you thought she was fun
and I’ve seen the photos,
a neutral family
glistening, all marigold,
including your arm upon her thigh.
I know what I’m supposed to do
though you sneer as I tie these kisses down.
How dare I, to ask out of worry.
How dare you,
To lobotomize virtue.
in twenty-one seconds,
the vibrato finds
an opinion to share
as girl with a deadline
taps the ends of her flats
together, toe boxes dulled
and patience dangling.
She hears the murmurs
away from a face, a farce in its
what she does best,
biding hyped time
and its uncertain comforts
that quiet her stammering hesitation.
and she lowers herself
to the grasp of undone concrete,
counting cracks across the plain
and deciding to pace, feet dry
as leaves whisper on sidewalks
that the landlord is waiting,
aware that she quit her day job, her curdled impulse.
I am trying to figure out how, and
what it could possibly take to grab
those blindingly yellow handlebars.
The harder you push, the more
people fawn over juvenile
Run faster, almost throw your life
against the flatness so uneven, the
dip you’ll trip over, a scuffle leaving
that dress un-wearable, but you’ll
keep a piece of it anyway.
Someone claimed he loved you a
very long time ago, and most
people know of the light attempt.
A hidden neighbor pours you a
glass, peach lemonade that fizzes
like her lips when she shakes her
head, agreeing, identifying scars
that sleep over raspy bark.
Starlight always glows, for it
doesn’t pay for electric, but don’t
let it fall.
Stare, murmur, shake and roll down
a modest hill, high as pillows you
once bargained for, loud as rain.
On the weekends, Kristine Brown frequently wanders through historic neighborhoods, saying “Hello” to most any cat she encounters. Some of these cats are found on her blog, Crumpled Paper Cranes (https://crumpledpapercranes.com). Her creative work can be found in Hobart, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Burningword Literary Journal, Sea Foam Mag, Philosophical Idiot, Thought Catalog, among others. A collection of flash prose and poetry, Scraped Knees, was released in 2017 by Ugly Sapling.