prompt: “Chocolate Milk :0)”

It’s kind of funny that this one is a little sad, seeing as the prompt was from my childhood best friend…a friendship I have happy memories of

“Invisible Stains”

I am staring at my knuckles
all throughout dinner, as if I can will
myself into existence. Drifting

from table talk, I think of chocolate milk
which doesn’t go well with pho, I know,
but right now? Neither do I.

Life is a deliberate unraveling
of a lone, elaborate tangle.
Swallowing words instead of noodles,

I am back in kindergarten. Class performance.
Beach Boys, California Girls,
and me

being much too brown for center-stage.
You know, kids have to adapt to our corruption.
They learn to laugh on empty, shake only

in the quiet, and lie still, feigning sleep.
As an adult, I still remember
what it’s like to play pretend:

cheap cartons filled with chocolate milk,
grass and gravel, thrown across the schoolyard,
bombs raining down on them at recess.

– billimarie