No one mentioned testicles
to the little girl in Sunday shoes.
Her stubby thumbs thrust pennies
into gaping slots, delivering hard
candy into sweaty palms. She’d chew
her Bubble Yum lip, spit gumballs,
tongue jawbreakers. She unvined the grapes
on her mother’s table, gently peeled the skin
to view the veins and chew the juice.
Bedroom door shut, she was a stranger
to parking lots. Unknown to the oil stains,
the asphalt, the street light. She knew
nothing of the clapping hands of men
with large, unscuffed boots. Their smiles,
the stories of paperback novels and pulp.
Those days, she was all pop-up book,
all milk teeth. Her eyebrows
like blonde bumblebee wings.
She’s older now. She licks
thick honey off her teeth
like crayon wax off a birthday cake
or hot droplets off a candlestick
clutched at the shaft
by a child in white lace
Rachel Leonard is an American freelance writer and backpacker who is currently chasing her own tail somewhere out in Oceania. Her poems have found homes at Rising Phoenix Press, Indianapolis Review, genesis, and a lot of bathroom walls in gas stations around the Midwest US.