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gasoline rainbows

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you leaped into puddles
in your brand new boots
(because who cares if they get dirty?
mom’ll wash them)
puddles, puddles
muddy or clear
or your favorite, the ones
with spiraling rainbows
(who knows how they got into
their inescapable spheres? who even cared?)
you splashed in them all-
the world was your oyster.

you walked into school
head held high
in your brand new pink dress
black hair braided tight
because you want to look pretty today, of course.
(today is the start of twelve grueling years
but you don’t know that yet, of course.)
eyes wide as you watch the fifth graders
their snooty attitudes, heavy textbooks
pushing people down on puddleless concrete
smearing chalked snowmen
and you secretly vow
you’ll never be that uncool.
(but you already are-
everyone else is in jeans.)

years slug by like ticks of a pendulum.
you sit in a classroom and listen
to rumors whizzing by
(but who even cares?)
you watch the prissy girls collect boys like charms
teachers clench their coffee cups
like their last shreds of sanity.
you get taller, cut your hair
and grow it out again.
you scan tests for trick questions-
becasuse life is full of them,
full of grays dappled betwen the blacks and whites
nothing is only
cool or uncool anymore, because now you can see
the many shades inbetween
(the question is, which one are you?)
nothing falls in straight lines
like crayons in a box
nothing is as it seems-
you know those rainbow puddles you loved?
that’s right, just gasoline.



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