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Phoebe Oct 4
There’s a story about Calypso or maybe it’s a legend
or maybe it’s religion

Daughter of a Titan, seducer of a hero
Maybe she was actually the hero

Must it always be about princesses and dragons, girls and ogres?

Anyway, we’re the dragons and the princesses tonight
Summer whites instead of white
wedding gowns-

There’s a bachelorette party a few tables down and the bride looks uncomfortably close to my age

The four of us, the dragon girls, around the table

There’s a story about sisterhood
or maybe it’s a legend
or maybe it’s religion

Daughters of regular men and students of 4 different subjects, citizens of three different countries between us

Sounds like a bad bar joke: a Romanian, two Americans, and a Chinese citizen walk into a restaurant on a Saturday night...

We laugh at ourselves before the punch line hits (and these young women actually liked themselves!)

When you’re the princess, ogre, dragon, girl
When you’re the prize, villain, hero
you get to have all the fun. That’s the secret to all this, I think: have all the fun you can

Have all you can. Have all of it. Be all of it. Complex human beings with complexes of our own behind our eyes- we laugh

The bachelorette party orders more alcohol

China and Romania plan their trip to Greece for spring break over
the side salads and
COVID-19 travel restrictions
Americans try their best to help navigate the travel website

Imagine this: history happens and we live through it anyway.

We plan through it anyway.

Once upon a time, Calypso trapped Odysseus.

That’s the way the story goes, anyway, but every dragon knows
men only come to the lair looking for a prize
he must not have been expecting something that looked like us
he must not have been expecting the dragon to be the prize
Phoebe Oct 2
And she looked at the man mostly named for a color

He had a real name, of course, but the color was so much more true than that
Names are just sounds, identified

“Oh, you.” A smile, recognized
Maybe she knew him from his own words
or a long, dark wall filled with names from a war from before she was born
or maybe it was more than that

“Oh, you.”
Cliff jumping
A Bildungsroman novel in 18 years

Here it is, hear it coming? You have to listen closely,
it’s in the whisper between two friends
then and now

When is it that we realize we are all just mirrors of each other in the circle of time? Soon, very soon-

We’re coming around the bend of it now, hold on tight and-here: immortality

Oh, you: immortal.
Phoebe Oct 2
So he sleeps behind his fathers counter,
little prince of a general store neighborhood dynasty

Is he a king, that he should doze on the throne?

Kings and boys- they’re all the same, anyway.
Anyway, make it three if a kind: kings + boys + Gods

A full hand, royal flush, this boy-king-god in his palace of cereal boxes
cheekbones polished by the flickering fluorescent light
the type flies are too afraid to land on, the type they land on anyway-
and here, he sleeps on; unbothered.

No one will believe you but me.

He will keep sleeping and you will keep stocking the shelves of his domain and nobody will believe you but me; justice passes by

The fly gets fried by the light overhead.

You saw it, he slept, and who would ever believe you but me?
Phoebe May 4
Red boys worth blood
listen to the things they can’t hold in their hands
like sun and color
and the supposed shoes of a Cinderella girl
who was really their sister
and didn’t run away from them,
just the angels in the front garden

Burn the house
Burn the garden
Take the gut-punch
Grab the slipper

The watery grave she finds herself in-
tears shed by parents over the rejection of a suitor

The boys are only red because they faithfully cling
to Cinderella’s heart.
She gave it to them for safekeeping

Oh the things that brothers find themselves holding
past midnight.
Phoebe May 4
The garbage truck sends noise crashing through the air
A plane adds to the din overhead and there-
A helicopter, hear it?
Thwup-thwup-thwup of the rotors
For a moment, there is no lockdown
There is not even a college or a crew team
Just me on the back porch in the mountains, looking up
Time bending full-circle.
I am eight and eighteen, looking up
The helicopter passes and so does the plane until all that’s left is the garbage truck and me on the back porch and my college professor begging the class to please, please pay attention over scratchy video feed.
Phoebe May 4
Body politics
Is this my flesh or yours?
Hard to tell, since I never loved you
I just wanted to be you
Phoebe May 4
It’s not your shoes at all, actually.
It’s the way you tie them: firmly, decisively

You have good, strong hands:
Van Gogh’s starry night,
Michaelangelo’s David,
and your hands.
You have a very specific way of holding onto things
all at once or not at all
The mountain ridges of your knuckles.

But how could I explain a thing like that?
Instead, I say: “I saw someone with your shoes,
the purple new balance 360s,
and it made me miss you.”

But what it is,
what it really is,

is I saw those shoes and I saw hands that were not yours tying them.
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