I pull up in his dad's driveway and
the boy sitting on the stoop looks
like Saint Exupery's treasured little prince
with subtle stars smeared on his face and neck.
When he climbs inside my used Sentra,
I tell him about this quirky realization.
"You're both so cute and opinionated."
He grins and replies that it's his favorite book
to read when life is particularly rough.
Cappuccino sips and playful shoves
convert the evening into something
brilliantly unstable and devastatingly 'teenager'.
I want to kiss him violently so we can stop this
annoying game of cat and mouse.
But instead, we discuss music and
other topics that make me feel childish.
He asks where I would go if I could teleport
myself anywhere at any desired time and
I confess that I'd like to visit someplace
up north with a lot of trees and not
enough people to criticize me.
He nods like he understands
but I wonder if he secretly thinks I'm rude.
Propping himself up on the hood of the car,
he takes a long drink and I watch how his
throat works as he swallows
the caramel mixture in his clover cup.
The delicately strong sight makes me
want to make his voice crack
like a window in a dusty haunted Victorian.
But before I can attempt anything gritty,
he wraps his soft lips around my mouth,
keeping one hand pressed against my cheek
over the embarrassing heat of my surprise.
"What, you didn't like it?"
He asks in a teasing tone.
But a loud pop tears through
the poetry-starched air,
followed by a bouncing
truck full of raunchy apes.
They flail bottles over their
heads and stain the serene
parking lot with cheap beer and blood.
The boy reaches for my hand
and one of the aggressors sees.
He starts shouting ugly words that
make my arms stiffen with anger
and weariness because I've heard
these gutter-type limericks so many
times that they've stopping being interesting.
Pushing my friend into the car's safe interior,
I turn to face the hulking creature.
He takes a swing at me and I smash my fist
against his nose before
the others can join in.
The blow sends him stumbling a few feet,
buying us time to escape with a screeching
of wheels on the now notorious pavement.
"That was close!" I laugh, collapsing
in the passenger seat and letting
the cute boy drive my car out of town.
He gives me a horrified look and
doesn't stop shaking,
not even when I swear I'm alright.
We park a few houses
away from his home
and he takes a shuddering breath.
I place my hand on
his chest where his
heart is mimicking Bon Jovi's drums.
"I'm sorry I ruined our date," I say,
though I don't know why.
Maybe I just needed an
excuse to hold his hand again.
He glances at me with
foreign astronaut blue eyes,
fantastic in the dim saffron
glow of a street lamp.
"Don't say that," he commands,
though I almost smile because
there's nothing but
fake authority there.
"Just kiss me," he adds stiffly.
"I think you like danger,"
I gasp when we pull apart.
He leans toward me like
I'm something dependable and
the thought saddens me because
he's too beautiful and compliant;
high cheekbones flushed
with excitement for all things fun.
Recalling how he pulled on my tie
earlier makes me want to
push him down in the backseat
and sweep my hands all
over his wickedly androgynous form
with the intent to please but also
brand like the way kids carve
initials into playground toys.
I want this boy to understand
why we were almost murdered;
because I already love him..
And even though I wish I could
rip off my winter uniform and
take him hard beneath
a screen of velvet-penciled sky,
I know we're both better than
this trashy porn scene.
So I whisper "take care"
and ruffle his hair as he tries
to hug me in all his
biker jacket glory.