Our girl was seventeen, and she didn’t think
we knew what that meant. The space between us
and our girl is bridged by stories that feel like
figments, to her they are not who we are.
It is a dangerous thing to play, hopscotch across
the lines that gate us into these suburbs. Our girl
was going to the boy’s house, the one she loved,
and she thought my cheeks didn’t still have holes
from biting away the giggles, that I had never been
the girl she was. The boy was not you but he was close
and that scared you and all your daddy parts. When
our girl came home with a red patch on her wrist,
I felt the heart we share speed up on your side. She
lifted it to my nose and told me to smell, so I sniffed
our girl’s red skin and it smelled of London. You
smelled her too as she told us how the boy burned her
on accident, that he dropped a candle and the wax
dripped. It would scar her, you said, and she remembered
in the seventeen year old thoughts I passed down to her,
the night I chipped my tooth on your bourbon glass when
we were undergraduate students drunk on something else.
My boy, the one you still keep, broke me with crystal
and our girl’s burned her with a candle that smelled
of Earl Gray and Bergamot and a place she’d never been to.

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