Written After I Told a Man I Couldn’t Date Him Because of My Hidden Disability
A rusted bottle cap pokes up from the sand next to three dry leaves
the color of dull lemons. The Wisconsin river
smells of freshwater fish; I am happy with my life.

Rust pink, old broccoli green, silver ripples—the colors
all around me—and the hum of traffic on a distant bridge. This place
is for motorcyclists and hangovers, like the one I’m nursing now,

unintended from only two beers last night, a night I tried to be
like all the others drinking beer and laughing,
the woman next to me rubbing her tits up against a man’s chest

because they are old friends in small town America and here,
in these-friendly-sort-of-rural-islands,
you can do things like that without consequence.

I lie on the blanket I spread over the sand, a book beside me—always
a book, my lover of choice because I need someone understanding
in my life who will carry on a long conversation.

I read each book I love all the way through, listening,
asking questions, hoping the book will offer me something by way
of a mental orgasm and stay with me for life

because I want to believe that I’m happy. I am.
Freshwater fish stir the river lined by a rust-pink beach and trees
that look like old broccoli. This is such

a small town—the kind you try to leave when you’re young to find
the guy you think you want to have. I did
and this is the post-post-traumatized brain he gave me I explained to the man

at my table between beers and a few semi-honest laughs. My book
is good, but not good enough to compete with this hangover,
three dry leaves the color of lemons, a rusted bottle cap.
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