She-Town Girl

Sarah Pearson

[watermark image]

Sharp hook barbed through your delicate lip,
its low pink flush full and ripe—
small creases thinly define its bursting roundness. My blood is out for you.
Seven bracelets. One ring. A tattoo running
rightside-up spells death, rightside-down spells life. Flowers, naked bodies,
small needles merge within the words.
Your skin that freckled peach-before-tan,
Icelandic eyes carving out little pieces of my heart
as your mouth moves, sounding out names like Hojicha, Kukicha,
asking for chrysanthemum tea, the candied bell of your eyebrow ring
threading over blond lashes, white daisy petals
bursting from the river. Your sandals are mudded from horses and bluegrass
hideaways, your breath a faint tick of soy and hash, fresh cherries and tempura.
Sweet smile. Thin arms. Frayed batik blouse.
Three nickels for a tip—I watch you slide out the door,
blond dreadlocks frizzing against the sweat of your neck,
red paint peeling from the windows. Immovable silence.
A thick silver ring ties in your twisted hair, the wideness
of your pregnant belly slowly expanding under your breasts. Unwound ties.
Missing buttons. One orange slice in black iced tea. The way you smile,
leaning forward, calling me Momma, hun, dollface, is like
calling me your sister, your best beloved, before walking out with
another girl wound in your may-pole ribbon arms.
Your anklet’s bells clink tinny; I imagine your home, a white farmhouse:
every room filled with still-wet paintings, liquid bodies
smeared in thick oils on a huge canvas, empty bottles by the recycling
and a drifter sleeping on the futon. Your feet scrape over sidewalk—

you are a field of wildflowers growing in my kitchen.