The worn out backseat of Benny’s car is where I end up when ***** piles up at the back of my throat, my head scratched as the hooves of a dead cow. The worn out backseat is the best place to lie still, but only when it’s dark out, the moon finally comfortable with people being out underneath the broken streetlamps. At night, when it’s too dark for us to even remember the faces of our parents, the broken streetlamps are all that remind us that we’re still in a suburban town (anywhere else and the streetlamps wouldn’t flicker).
When I’m with Benny it’s as though my head is bald again and I’m crowning my way out from my mother’s womb for a second time. The first time I was born I clawed my way out like a violent rat. With Benny it’s always summer, with Benny it’s always summer in the worst of ways: heat flashed across my palms, my throat bitter with god, the word “gorgeous” all around my teeth. Benny has hair
that is too short for his lanky body. Benny drives awkwardly. I see him best driving across bridges built for rivers. The last night of July I dreamt about all of us from the line of painted white houses, everybody still 19 years old, running crookedly into ocean. Our bodies shook with salty water. In the dream I cried because nobody drowned and I woke up still crying.
I’ll never get over the word “teen”; it sounds too much like a curse, like “gorgeous.”