Baby and I sit at a high-table, “trimming hairs” by which
we mean “packaging weed for sale.” It is what we find
to do sometimes with our talents. Eddie pats his Rottweiler,
Ginger, fat and blind, and watches the Pacquiáo-Mosely fight,
jabbing the air. In prison he got a skull tattoo down his neck.
Now it becomes his face when he leans his head back.
Benson makes the brownies; Alf sets up the coke.
Baby and I step outside to have a menthol in the cold,
ashing in a flowerpot held by a chipped garden gnome.
Nobody but a heartbroken Baby could have gotten us here,
and now we’re all fucked up. “All carpeted apartments smell like Gram,”
he notes, stubbing his cigarette out in the gnome’s good eye. It’s true.
Back inside, an athletic young woman has appeared on the couch
with a wet husband and an obese woman in diabetic socks
and Baby is thrilled—those rolling, infinite breasts! He crawls
into the woman’s lap and, fingering her beaded necklaces, claims it’s the best
he’s ever felt. I feel: an unwelcome sobering. I squish on a cushion
with Ginger and give her a pat. Now, as ever, I wait Baby out.
“Will you drink teeny bottles of coconut rum,
and value a hot tub?” asks Baby.
We’re exhuming our pierced-navel youth.
We spend our time biting our pen caps,
writing flurries of ballpoint and college-ruled
love notes behind the solar-system
shower curtain dividing our shared room.
We bake a black forest cake for German class
but it proves somehow plagued with ants,
an irreparable social downer. We wish to be rid
of the man with the mustache and his beagle,
named Pluto, which sealed the deal of our vernal disdain.
“Might you sleep with Kelly Michaels’s
older brother? I once saw him ketchup his eggs.”
No one’s parents are ever home. It’s a good question.
Biology textbooks and long lonely walks,
caffeine pills and wet-haired older waiters,
two-liters with the labels torn off:
that’s what teen-Babies are made of.
And the right kind of flare in one’s jeans.
“How about Joe Palomino?”
For the lack of cable one night we settle in
to watch VHS porn we found in tin
buckets in the attic. We revert to being so dumb
we believe our stomachaches idiopathic.
We tear the sleeves off our T-shirts and Sun-In our hair.
“Looks good.” We ride bikes but we wear
our helmets. Everything smells like wet asphalt.
Sarah Trudgeon Sarah Trudgeon’s chapbook Dreams of Unhappiness received a Poetry Society of America 30 and Under Chapbook Award, and other poems have been published in The Nation, The Paris Review, the London Review of Books, and other journals. She lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts where she is director of education for The Mastheads and teaches poetry in public schools.