He calls her luminescent
She isn’t sure that he hasn’t swallowed a thesaurus,
He isn’t usually this verbose, after all,
He laughingly nudges her chin, “fireworks”, he whispers,
“Embodiment of youth”, lightning fingers tracing across her thighs
She spends the next five years searching
Searching for that incandescent smile,
Practiced fingers patting highlighter across her cheeks
Affecting a subtle, dewy glow. Trying to recapture lost youth.
She’s no longer 19 and no longer quite so daring.
She has a tattoo of a rocket ship on her wrist,
Innocently asked, she whispers it’s a metaphor.
She doesn’t mention the notebooks packed neatly in a box,
Hidden behind a too large hoodie and polaroids;
Page after innocuous page carrying the same roughly sketched
Blue inked, pencil edged swirl of a spiral.
She cries whenever she hears space odyssey.
After nights of too cheap whiskey and too loud karaoke,
Camaraderie in joint misery. Bowie. She doesn’t correct them.
She knows she drinks too much and smokes too much
And eats too little. Her skin is pale, her fingertips French,
She doesn’t say as much as she listens and she’s good at listening.
She’s listless and she fidgets too much.
She’s not 19 anymore, and she’s often too sad and they know,
They’re friends because everyone is too much, too little and all the same.
They tell her she’s lightning in a jar.
Too witty, too quick, too bright. Too everything, really.
They groan into her skin, too dry tongue burning,
She’s so hot, so pretty, so beautiful. Those lips.
She flirts and she smiles and she drinks and she lies
With men who’ve never swallowed a thesaurus, men who write poetry effortlessly
And dissect books and tell her that she is a light that never goes out.
They don’t call her rocketeer and they don’t tell her that she is fireworks.