Where I’m from, Every House Is a House with an Obstructed View

Paige Lewis

               of the ocean. Oh, we are boring and superstitious

in my city. We believe tides are caused by millions of oysters

               gasping in unison. Our rooms are eggshell white,

and our eggshells are poked through with silver spoons to let

               the demons out. Yes, we fall in love, but our love

isn’t golden so much as it is Midas-lite — hard and cheap —

               everything it touches turns green. We run out

of swoon quickly and respect the loveless, who are paid

               to stand naked in department-store windows, eating

homemade granola and sketching caricatures of anyone

               who stops to stare. Yesterday, I gawked at a man

who wore a yellow knitted cap on his penis. I was impressed

               by how acutely aware he made me of my forehead,

which took up more than half of the portrait. I tipped him

               generously with one hand and gave myself bangs

with the other. As a child, I was just as impatient and always

               justly punished. When I tore the buds open in my

garden, I lost my garden. When I threw rocks into tree branches

               to shake fruits loose, gravity was ruthless. I still miss

the flowers, but these new bangs do a marvelous job hiding my

               scars. Where I’m from, we are practical and ready

to grow our mistakes. We whisper our heaviest secrets into seed

               packets and launch them toward the nearest planet

where they’ll take root in neat rows — flower, fruit, flower, fruit.

               This is how we build our new home. This is how

we make ourselves light enough for spaceflight. We haven’t set

               an exact date and I’m not sure how long the trip will

take, but when we arrive I’ll be able to tell which orchard is mine.

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