When I Dusted You, In gold and Bronze and Sparks of Fire

By: Anel I. Flores

Can I stay over?
you asked
your chongo was loose from the day
your red backpack
pulled your shirt tight against your chest
ink stained blue on the front zip pocket
hanging from the zipper clasp
a red ribbon pinned on the strap

I was stunned
at your breasts
your eyes aimed on mine
I was stunned
you wanted to
stay over
and couldn’t come up with any words to say

you asked again
Can I stay the night?

Of course

we were like that
what they call ride or die
that were friends
same classes
same shoes
different color
shared meals
except our bras
yours c’s
a chubby boy’s
you were the only one
who knew
it was a girl I wanted to touch
and since you didn’t get feelings
for girls
you told me to touch you
right between the legs
at the edge of your panties
in the dark
I’ll pretend your hand is a dick
you said
rubbing up against it
in a fist

I didn’t know
enough about my own dick
back then
but maybe if I would have listened
to you
when you told me my hand was a dick
I could of really used it on you
like a dick
and maybe you would like it good enough
to stay with me
another night
or forever
instead of with that guy
he got you high
and I didn’t have that kind of stuff
for you

if I would of owned
my own body
back then
like I do now
you wouldn’t of gone out

and got you the kind of dick
that stretches from a body
like an earthworm

but I didn’t know my dick was real
that it was made of stars
and sugar
and could be as hard or soft as I wanted it to be
or as long as I could see

each square millimeter of your skin
each pore
each brown hair stood up off your body
when I dusted you
in gold
and bronze
and sparks of fire
but your eyes were closed
while we touched in the dark
lights off
oscillating fan
drowned out your breathing
the grind of my throat
when I parted the heaviness of your doughy thighs
with the push of my fingers in between your legs
in the dark

and you didn’t see the fire I saw
you didn’t hear the words
I didn’t know how to say
and you didn’t know there were other ways to love
and other ways to feel life grow inside of you
but we touched
and we trusted each other
and we slept close
like kittens

the next day
after class
like the night never happened
back at Jim’s
I was smoking a cigarette
watching you put on iridescent lipgloss
that reminded me of an opal I bought in Mexico
from a man leaning against a cathedral wall
cigarette after cigarette
you talked about boyfriends
one night stands
things that made me cringe
behind my stale smile
and squinted eyes

I drew pink hearts with the tip of our forks
and the leftover strawberry pie gel
on your plate
pretending not to care

you didn’t draw with me
or eat pie
you stared past my forehead
finally stopped talking
finally looked down
at the table
grabbed your not yet soiled napkin
and motioned to write
on the inside of the napkin fold

that reminds me
you said
and pointed at the disheveled
pile of red sweet gel
fruit chunks
while I continued to smear the sugar

I have to tell you something

without saying aloud
what it reminded you of
or what you were about to write
but it’s a secret

I waited
you didn’t speak
with the black felt tip pen
I stole from the registrar’s office

you lifted the napkin flap
up like a door
neared your face to the table
and the top of your hand
curled your fingers tighter around the pen
held your breath
let your bangs
heavy with a whole day of hairspray
and sweat
fall down over your eyes
shifted from left to right
against the brown vinyl booth
shoved your right leg under your ass
jiggled the pen behind the napkin wall
until you didn’t

closed the napkin
slid the secret
halfway across the brown fórmica table
then you took it back
before I could even pull my hand
up off my lap
I’m not ready for you to read it yet
your voice squeaked
you said
and slid it into the squatter and the don
we were both reading for Chicano lit

I was the only one you whispered too
behind your black fingernails
behind the ink doodles on your hands
you let me draw when lectures got boring
I was the only one you snuck out the window for
those nights my parents were out of town
and my abuelita was sleeping
while watching novelas at the same time

I wanted to read the note

when I woke up and you were gone
the napkin was showing its ear out of the top of my book
I fanned the pages open

I’m pregnant
It said
And I need you to go with me to take care of it
My mother will kill me
And there is no way I’m gonna be trapped with a stinky dude now
We have too much living to do
You wrote
Meet me after your two o’clock class
Love your shooting star

Anel I. Flores
Anel I. Flores is a lesbian, queer, woman story maker. Her work manifests as drawings, stories, jewelry, paintings, stickers  y mas, as a continuation and evolution of the conversations started by the Xicana/x movement in art and literature, now infused by latinx, transfeminism.
Featured Image By: J.S.

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