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Tasting ButterfliesThere’s a boy in my class whose name I can’t taste.I mean, I can taste it, but I don’t know what it is. His name is Oliver. His name is smooth, kinda buttery almost, but that’s not it. It’s sweet and thick, like a syrup. I’ve never been able to not place a taste before.I know the flavors of the rest of my classmates. Kat is wafers and chocolate; Melissa is dust and honey; Irving is grainy Parmesan; Ally is hot dogs and pickles. Every name has an essence on my tongue and I can name them all. Even the teacher, Ms. Fleming, has a flavor – spearmint toothpaste.Oliver has hair like the taste of his name – smooth, burnished copper. He has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. If his eyes had a name, I bet they would taste like seawater. Whatever his name tastes like, I’d probably never be able to eat it without also tasting butterflies.
Caramel and AshesI named my first child after my favorite breakfast; Nichole, oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon and cashew pieces. Sensible, but sweet, she wore turtlenecks and flats all throughout high school. My second, James, was like the lunch I had every other day in college – provolone and turkey on sourdough. Sturdy, hardy, jack of all trades. James could build a new clock just as easily as fixing the old one.People keep asking me to taste their names. Like names are ice cream cones, and I’m the only one that gets a lick. Strangers in the hallways know about the girl who eats names like potato chips and aren’t shy about asking how do I taste, Willow? Like I haven’t heard that innuendo before.My third, Willow, inherited my gift. Willow was bittersweet; sea salt, caramel, a little rosemary. She’s a lot like her father. She named the cat Zion for being a combination of her favorite flavors – lemon-lime, vanilla, and grapefruit.I don’t know if the ta
WhirlpoolGod splits the waterwhen He gets into Hisbathtub – cold in one half,boiling in the other – and letsthem crash together once Hehas leaned into the curveof the tub, relaxing in the eyeof a whirlpool.
SynestheticSometimes I taste test names;Anita – sharp citrusand lemongrassfor the ann-i,a tortilla for the taa.Brad – I likeits weight; a slabof marbled chocolatemelted on my tonguebefore the last letter.Charlotte – somethingsavory, but sweet; porkmarinated in honeyon sweet rolls.Doug – vanillatinged cheesecake;a dusting of grahamcracker shavings;an Oreo with no filling.Elena – spiceand heat radiate –eh-layne-ahh – a coronabursting fromthe second e.Fletcher – it’s syllablesmesh like mashedpotatoes, lumpy yetconsistent.Gladys – driedlemons and staleSpree candies, rattlinginside and empty pitcher.Hawthorne – brackish,the leftover remainsof a magnificent feast,the apple still stuckin the boar’s mouth.Imogen – leanand stringy. Greenbeans and chickenbroth at a small,weathered table.Jules – red velvetand hot peppers, a weekold cake with hardfrostin
The Morning Star Concert HallGod’s favorite concert was a ‘98jam session in a hellishamphitheater downstairs.The producer bookedthe big ones – Hendrix, Cobain,Joplin, Johnson – one nightonly, fallen stars rise again!Saints they ain’t, but Godhas one ear for prayersand one for souls wailingsoul into a void with no echo,no applause, no expectationof anything more than their ownrelief.And when you’re top billingin the Morning Star Concert Hall,the fans are the only comfortyou’ve got left.
LunchdateExasperated voice behind cracked door,anger channeled to convenient targetknocking; what excuses do imploreyour kinder nature, suddenly hardened?What end-of-year frustrations yet pesteryour schedule? Finish your classes swiftly,with a smile for the final semester;we have a date with Korean kimchi.I’ll not have our friendship linger in doubt;just don’t tell your wife that I asked you out.
Zero is not a size.Zero is not a size.Zero is a lack of size,a wafer-thin waistwhere your organsshould be.Zero should be the numberof girls that hatethe width of their hips.But I live in a worldwhere zero is a size,and nothing is valuedlessthan substance.