For two weeks we heard nothing but stars. We would lie
in our beds like exhausted lovers, covers thrown
to the floor, Vitruvian girls and boys celebrating
the brief renaissance of summer. My older brother’s friends
came to our house each day to play acoustic guitar
and commiserate over the lack of air conditioning
in the middle of August. They posed in the living room
shirtless like sculptures, their eyes forever focused
on a distant point. I’ve never seen you
in shorts before, one childhood playmate said.
His rectangular arms pointed towards me in cryptic sign
language and I drew my eyes down to the hard lines
of the tattoo on his lower leg. Five years earlier,
my sixth grade science teacher reprimanded me for drawing
on my hands and arms in black and red pen. It was only a matter
of time, she said, before the ink would seep into my bloodstream, before
I would be marked with the childish comments
of an eleven year old and the memory of ink poisoning etched
into my brain. I knew she was lying. My skin resumed
a natural pale hue after a shower every night.
It was only in starlight, when the bluish tint of my veins
caught my eye, that I believed for a moment
I had become a painting.
lives in Tampa and sells cameras at an electronics store. Her work is forthcoming in SHAMPOO