The Carefree

They tell you—stand in the gravel by the side of the
highway, in the casualties of a waxing moon, naked,
reach out your fingertips and stroke the cars as they
rush by, all blurry shades of panther­-black and
firework. They tell you—pull out your chalk, kids, and
draw that piano on the dilapidated cement, dance upon
it, and music will come out if you do it right. They tell
you—braid your hair with kelp and the waves will bow
to you; cram yourself between train track slats and you
won’t die; slip pennies into the cracks of your
fish tank and it will all be fine. Go on. But don’t pretend
that the vehicles won’t hit you first. Don’t pretend that
curtsies are a thing of the Earth, or that your fish tank
won’t implode one day like the belly of a once-pregnant
mother; ­­water cascading the walls, glass fragments
ricocheting off your chandelier, so you’re left trembling,
gasping, knees pressed into a doused carpet, the
guppies sucking in desperation on your wet skin.

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