When you’ve crouched against the burn-your-hands hot concrete to get the angle of the setting sun’s light perfect across the bloody smear that was a motorcyclist, you know what this is.
So late last night, emboldened, / I was in a fight with a 53% human, 47% barefoot-crushed black currant jam. / She told me, “You’re not what I’m pinning anymore,” / And I screamed at her, / “You can’t find this in stores!”
The girls in eighth / grade told me to press / my thighs together / when wearing a skirt, / bend down with knees / pressed tight, / never dance with / my torso pressed / against him, his thing / pressed into my stomach / as we slowly shuffled / to “Color My World,” / his hand pressed / the hollow of my back.
Long white fluorescent lights slide by overhead. / The wall was carpeted in a panel behind the tap. / A quick rainstorm followed by an hour in air conditioning. / It was an afternoon kind of light at the wrong time of day.
Cotton remains in his office after everyone leaves. He sees the shadows that they left behind and wishes he could take them in his hands and bury them in a loose pile of dirt. Cotton places a nickel inside his mouth and lets it clink against his teeth. It tastes like gunpowder and seawater and flint.
You’ve seen the golden beaches under the Big Sur and walked the hot boulevards down in the valley but none of it amounts to much in the teeth of this kind of light. Even the snowpacked street glimmers electrically. We do not want to die, as the philosopher says, because we are too much in love with the phenomenology of the lit world.