In 1997, the days were long, the sun
bloodshot, and Mountain View, CA smelled
like duck shit. Those days, everyone’s mind
was a sex tape on repeat. Hirsute rumors
clogged the shower drains. When young girls
disrobed together in a locker room, rancor
smelled like petunias. The whole stink glowed
with mutant love. In 1999, tremors erased
my larynx. Voicemails flooded with cackles,
inboxes sneered. Late afternoons, my legs
greened Granny Smith-style and I believed
when they called me leviathan.
Ovoid girl—black hair, burnt skin, snaggletooth
& sexless ruin. I saw tumors grow the size
of California. Nobody spat. Only suggested.
Give this up. Shucked each desire.
Evenings, when I was finally free, I saw crushed stars
roll into the thistle field. On that pungent summit
I was a gutter, a bountiful gutter. I collected
clean rain. I was a passageway to the open shore.