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Whenever you wanted bubblegum,
Your mom wouldn’t let you eat it –
Just hold it there in your sweaty palm
Until it undressed itself there
A hollow little egg
Your pale hand stained with red cherry blood
And sometimes you thought that maybe,
(If you waited),
Maybe that little egg would crack at the seams
You would watch
As a cherry-bubblegum bird stretched its wings in the sugared air
And escaped against the Technicolor sky, finally free
All for twenty-five cents.
And then there was that phase you went through
Where you used to load up your pockets with little white stones,
Your reasoning being that, if you found enough quartz
You could make a clock big enough to bend the centuries
And become the world’s first time-traveler
At the age of seven.
But it didn’t really work,
Because when you turned eight someone told you
That it wasn’t quartz in your pockets after all.
You realized then
That you didn’t really want to be a scientist.
And in an old Altoids box there are
The kinds that come with new clothes
In case the other ones fall off.
You don’t remember why you still have them
Because the reason escaped when you opened the drawer,
Drifting like a dust mote on the stuffy, autumnal air,
Drowning in the equinox.
Paper lies in layers,
Scars resting on faint flesh;
You ruffle through them,
Perhaps expecting to find some long-lost,
Long-dead skeleton of memory
Like the bones of some withered dinosaur –
But nothing is there.
The drawer slams shut,
Scaring the past to sleep
Curling up in layers of possible universes
No lullaby waits for the infamous.