Memory Outshines the Moment

Childhood’s supposed to be a little blurry,
but phones are testing the shores of Moore’s law.
Kid, you’re gonna know every gory detail growing up:

the green facepaint. The goalposts at night. The peach wall
(since painted cerulean) the pool cue leaned against. You will
still smell the fragrance of fall in retail. The beehive lights

spattered against the backdrop of capitalism. Somehow you
still found a way to toss boomerang smiles, to pose
at Macy’s amongst the mannequins, limbless and featureless.

(originally published in Erothanatos, Summer 2021)

Working the Cologne Department at Macy’s, 2010

My olfactory nerve already overflooded with Acqua di Gio
on business cards beneath fluorescents, I did not expect

to run into my first love in the wilderness of Black Friday,
where hard rain was people. I sought a higher ground– escalator

to the bathroom to text my crush on my TracFone, until the arms
on my watch contorted a certain way. But my tarot cards flipped

when I recognized Kristen from afar, both of us unsure,
unlike in fifth grade, on the bus to Mohican, she slept

beside me, her hair fire on my shoulder, strobe lights of a confused
adolescence that entire week. Camp ended when everyone

contracted poison ivy. How to scratch the mind until snapping
back into self– in that present, years later, I thought she might be

fate and, thus, planned a coffee date, but because I did not
carve the path I wanted to take, winter came. And went.

(originally published in Tipton Poetry Journal, Winter 2021)