by Kyle Hemmings

As the loneliest girl without balloons or ceramic cuckoos, you unscrew light bulbs to test a theory of darkness.

RESULTS: It makes everything immaterial.

But that was 300 days/months/years ago. As in the exact number might save precious birds or make teachers mute in a four octave range. Salvaging your half-starved life in the attic, your ears bleed the words: Mrs. Anderson, we think your daughter needs psychological testing. There are some bizarre signs.

You know it’s just jealousy. You wish you had the kind of power. To turn off the lights. To make things, people, disappear.

The psychologist is a woman with damaged feet, too rushed for the phones, who broods over you, gives you free haircuts & clothes in exchange for mushy sex in her attic. “Do you want to cuddle?” is the usual code. There can only be one answer. When you stop coming around, she phones your mother about some recent “acting out.”

At school, a gang member brushes against you, says that you are so pretty in pale. His pockets always bulge with sharp objects. You keep telling him he’s not your type. “You like soft boys?” he asks with a smirk. You turn, look him directly in his mud-deadened eyes and whisper, “Yes!”

It’s your attic, again. Dust clings to walls. You close your eyes, imagine plucking harp strings behind a boy’s face of mahogany wood. Sweet melody. Urban nymphs in glissando. Glass snapdragons. Never fall. You love too easy & it’s back to cold soup & hoping for serendipity behind closets.

You want a boy to fine tune you. You want to rattle underneath him while having snake-skin sex. Most of the boys you know are tone-deaf & weak-kneed. They prefer to remain in an audience of listless faces. The don’t understand codas or counterpoint.

Your mother tried classical training before she fed you bottled milk. Broke her thumbs on the white keys. Broke a fingernail on the flats. In the largest room of the house, you are still powerless, but here, you’re your own victim. You burn your hands on a melting candelabra.