-1Cynthia, Somewhat

Guess what, guess what, she says;
voice tight on the edge of her tongue
like a suicide jumper

I have a date with a 25-year-old guy!
Her voice embossed in a sing song,
pop star paisley, matching perfectly
to her pink cell phone; the wallpaper
proudly proclaiming 'princess' in a
glittery script.

We all gaze at her, mouths closed,
though teeth separate into small circles
before we can stop ourselves;

we are all thinking that she is lying (more
then likely). We see that she's morbidly
obese, with a pension to laugh at her own
jokes, and clear her throat to thicken the
silence,

we all stare at the flakey stain falling
across the front of her unwashed black
dress.

Eyes slant sideways, erasing each other,
trying hard not to deface her.

I never thought I would be a cougar -
we laugh, on principle,

she told me once that when she was a kid
her mother caught and raised a pack of chipmunks
and she and her siblings named them after nuts:

hazel,
peanut,
hickory,

I imagine the amount of snow that collected
against the sides of the cage, while wild blurs
against the horizon become still, and
domesticated.

We do have the same middle name; the same
eyes swollen with first sight, while she
reaches her hand out to a stranger
proclaiming that she plans to be
married in the next five years,
although tomorrow, wouldn't be soon enough.

She tells us foreshadowing stories
about the boy who broke her heart
in high school; how for $250 a month
she sleeps on the bottom bunk in a
house occupied with unwed Christian women.

I smile at her, and before she leaves
I wish her luck.