Autumn, 2020

you make me feel like I’m seventeen

meet me at my locker after class

so for three minutes, we can hold hands

and on a Friday night, rubbing shoulders

in the bleachers, while the homecoming

champions are announced below

we’ll dance tomorrow

(even though we don’t dance)

and take pictures in town, by the river

(what would you look like beside

an emerald dress?)

and this is my sister, the giraffe

(when she got engaged, I couldn’t

tell you fast enough)

will you be coming over for dinner

because my mother’s been asking

for months now

and my family’s already looked you up

on social media

all my friends know your name

by the pink in my cheeks when I verbalize it

my fingers are crossed for your response

but I confess, sometimes when you talk,

your words are muffled music while I

slow down time to count the freckles

on your face and I wonder about the stubble

there, what it would feel like against my 

fingertips, smooth or scratchy 

and would you let me?

I can hardly contain my excitement,

losing sleep over the thought of Thursday

(where will we meet and what will we eat

what should I wear and do you even care?)

you make me feel three years younger

(maybe because you are three years older)

the thrill of being seventeen again and you, 

whole-heartedly, consciously sober

we could sit on the curb, sipping coffee, 

watching the city traffic drive by

and in the winter, by the wood stove,

we could play cards with my brothers and sisters

(or your brother and sisters)

while snow falls outside the window

my mother makes homemade hot chocolate

at Christmastime and here, my newly wed sister 

bought you an ugly sweater for the festivities

but what I most look forward to

is putting my head in the crook of your neck,

feeling your pulse with the point of my nose  

and knowing you aren’t a product of my imagination

(like you tried convincing me that day at shift change)

but that you really really are nonfiction

and we are an endless display

of possibilities

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