She had always been a tomboy. Climbed trees. Got dirty. Tossed out the best insults, tiny little deadly little hand grenades. Her best friends were the meanest boys, the spitting boys, the screaming boys, the tricking boys, the cussing boys, the gut punching ass kicking boys with their chupacabra stories and anti-Jesus songs.

Then she was a woman and no one understood. Her weird brand of magic was lost in translation, stuck inside the cupboard behind the peach preserves, forgotten about until it was time to pack up boxes and move to Minnesota. There was sex but sex always happens, even to the dull and witless, even to the cheap and small, even to the broken and disenfranchised. Sex is no kind of miracle. Gnats fuck. Termites fuck. Crickets fuck much better than humans. “You want big ass fries and a fried apple pie with your blow job?” In America and other places sex is fast and easy and hot like that, a reality television episode that goes down easier than a shot of Jose Cuervo.

True blazing toe curling love is the miracle and she got that, she knew it, she tattooed the rumor all over her clavicle and behind her left ear. There would never be a kiss in those places. She was sad about it but life kept happening in the usual way, especially in the sweltering heat of August when it’s harder to breathe and easier to remember and the pool with the broken fence and empty beer cans is deeper than the Pacific, in places. “Places, people!” The director from junior high, clapping his hands, when she was the star of the play and no one knew why because her name was funny and her face didn’t match the didactic posters on the wall and in the cafeteria she was the alien heavy and marked with inquisitive stare.

No places exist for her kind of home, a dream sanctuary solid with peace and cool with knowing. To be known is the fantasy and it melts in the dog heat, it melts like butter.

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