I pull up in his dad's driveway
and the boy sitting on the stoop
looks like Saint Exupery's treasured little prince.
When he climbs inside my used Sentra,
I tell him about this quirky realization.
"You're both so cute and opinionated."
He grins and replies that it's his favorite book
to read when life is particularly rough.
Cappuccino sips and playful shoves
convert the evening into something
brilliantly unstable and devastatingly 'teenager'.
I want to kiss him violently so we can stop this
annoying game of cat and mouse.
But instead, we discuss music
and other topics that make me feel childish.
He asks where I would go if I could
teleport myself anywhere at any desired time
and I confess that I'd like to visit
someplace up north with a lot of trees and
not enough people to criticize me.
He nods like he understands but I
wonder if he secretly thinks I'm rude.
Propping himself up on the hood of the car,
he takes a long drink and I watch how his
throat works as he swallows
the caramel mixture in his clover cup.
The delicately strong sight
makes me want to make his voice crack
like a window in a dusty haunted Victorian.
But before I can attempt anything gritty,
he wraps his soft lips around my mouth,
keeping one hand pressed against my cheek
over the embarrassing heat of my surprise.
"What, you didn't like it?"
he asks in a teasing tone.
But a loud pop tears through
the poetry-starched air,
followed by a bouncing
truck full of raunchy apes.
They flail bottles over their heads
and stain the serene
parking lot with cheap beer and blood.
The boy reaches for
my hand and one of the aggressors sees.
He starts shouting
ugly words that make my arms stiffen
with anger and weariness
because I've heard these
gutter type limericks so
many times that they've
stopped being interesting.
Pushing my friend into
the car's safe interior,
I turn to face the hulking creature.
He takes a swing at me
and I smash my fist against his nose
before the others can join in.
The blow sends him stumbling a few feet,
buying us time to escape with
a screeching of wheels
on the now notorious pavement.
"That was close!" I laugh as I collapse
in the passenger seat,
letting the cute boy
drive my car out of town.
He gives me a horrified
look and doesn't stop shaking,
even when I swear I'm alright.
We park a few houses
away from his home and
he takes a shuddering breath.
I place my hand on his chest
where his heart is mimicking
Bon Jovi's drums.
"I'm sorry I ruined our date,"
I say, though I don't know why.
Maybe I just needed an excuse
to hold his hand again.
He glances at me with
foreign astronaut blue eyes,
fantastic in the dim
saffron glow of a street lamp.
"Don't say that," he commands,
though I almost smile because
there is nothing but
fake authority there.
"Just kiss me,"
he adds stiffly.
"I think you like danger,"
I gasp when we pull apart.
He leans toward me as if
I'm dependable and the thought
saddens me because he's
too beautiful and compliant;
high cheekbones flushed with
excitement for all things fun.
Recalling how he pulled
on my tie earlier makes me
want to push him down
in the backseat and sweep
my hands all over his
wickedly androgynous form
with the intent to please
but also brand like
the way kids carve
initials into playground toys.
I want this boy to understand
why we were almost murdered;
because I already love him..
And even though I wish I could
rip off my winter uniform and
take him hard beneath
a screen of velvet-penciled sky,
I know we're both better than
this trashy porn scene.
So I whisper "take care"
and ruffle his hair as
he tries to hug me in
all his biker jacket glory.