when i was still a small little girl,
Mallory and i would sit outside the school together,
basking in the sunlight while we traded
hair ties and love stories.

first we talked of crystal swans and ice sculptures,
roses and pink-threaded weddings--
but the talk soon progressed to boys.

so we sat, again
for an endless stretch of time,
screaming over mascara and makeup,
and what kind of hair Dave would like best.

now, the hospital-white walls glare while we sit,
watching his battered chest rise and fall
like waves in the worst of summer storms,
and try not to flinch while our wedding-crystal dreams
shatter all over.

(now, we count scars and minutes
instead of childhood crushes.)