Flirting with Fridays, in a paranoid dream
when the phlox decayed and no longer spread;
it was the color of autumn-lit ballerina
wallpaper – and some Sunday
between morning and evening.
I combed the knots from my hair
with imaginary fingers to a soundtrack
that never existed – neither did
any interview I conducted in the shower
the color of the light fixtures, perfectly matching
the color of moonlit community college
radio hosts – or some Tuesday
between breakfast and forgetting.
And there’s a T-shirt I’ve owned for a decade
and a memory I manage by the length of
And (a Sunday, sometime between
morning and evening –
when the smoke crowding the edges of
your black and white picture
was just the steam of your overheated coffee)
the color sepia, something like a Sunday
between summer and winter.
(When all the pretty words lose meaning
and all the pretty phlox seeds stop spreading.
Soon all the purple ballerinas stop dancing
and all the purple sweaters start to shrink.)
Whispering with Wednesdays beneath a hopeless essayist’s pen
when the cherry tree, the subject of 13
pretty poems, stopped growing
and the decade-shirt no longer fit.
It wasn’t a color, but if it was –
it’d have been the color of not feeling
to own a shirt for a decade
or be alive in a world at war
when the flood warnings crash the TV set.
And it’s the color of the pothole that
breaks the unity
of a brick road seven states
away – when your favorite song gets tiring
like autumn-lit ballerinas, washed-up
drunken poets, somehow alive
in the middle of a Sunday, sometime
between morning and
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.