memorial day weekend, 2012
paid for with a summer’s worth of minimum wage paychecks.
Sometimes, the driver’s side window falls off its track
and you lay on the hot blacktop with a screwdriver
trying to poke it back up from underneath the door.
I burn the backs of my thighs on the navy leather,
turn up the dial on your cassette player,
roll down the window and stick out my hand.
For the whole weekend, we dine on sliced oranges
and vodka for every meal.
When we hold hands, our fingers stick.
I walk around wearing almost nothing,
red toenails bright against bare feet,
and pay for my bravery with burnt skin.
On the Seaside Boardwalk, you buy me
an impossibly tiny cup of Dippin Dots,
freezer burnt and deliciously pink.
Astronaut ice cream, you call it,
and in the 3 pm sunshine, we snap our eyes shut
and imagine ourselves in the darkness of outer space, floating.
When I peek, your eyes are so crinkled
they have swallowed your long black eyelashes.
Every last one, whole.
On the amusement park swings, you are a blur of color:
hand-me-down green t-shirt, worn blue jeans,
white white teeth, red red popsicle lips.
You are not mine but yesterday,
my favorite song came on the radio, all sunshine twang,
and you knew all the words.
I turned around and in the backseat
I saw that you had packed two pillows.
You, brighter than white sunshine
bouncing off cold May waves.
on loving a boy
loving him will be the most interesting thing about you.
You will have endless answers but their questions are always the same.
They want to know how long you knew,
how his body is changing,
how expensive it is,
if you’re, like, straight now,
and most of all, they want to know how you fuck.
Even the ones who don’t ask are asking how you fuck.
The sex does not really change but your hands do.
They learn where they are welcome
(the flat space in the middle of his chest, his ribcage,
shoulders) and recoil from the places they are not
(his breasts, the curve of his hips,
the slope of his thighs).
No one asks how you are but many people will call you brave.
This is confusing because you are not brave,
you are impatient.
When it all began, he shut down
so you gently corrected his mother when she talked about
the side effects of taking “steroids.”
You think maybe you never want to be a mother at all.
They rarely thank you for the information
and never ask what else you know.
(On average, there are 613 seeds in a pomegranate.
Virginia Woolf published Orlando in 1928.
Girls love boys all the time, and he still
takes his tea with three heaping spoonfuls of sugar.)
Danielle Eleanor (she/her) lives in Philadelphia, where she works in academic publishing, goes for a lot of weirdly long walks, and writes, usually on her roof. She holds a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing from Rutgers University. You can read more of her work in Occulum, Vagabond City Lit, The Nervous Breakdown, and more. Find her on Twitter @dea17_ and at danielleeleanor.wordpress.com.