coloring outside of you
I think I came screaming from the womb
with an chronic case of
And that was mostly how
it's been until you showed up.
When I was in kindergarten,
we were coloring the ditto sheet
with an apple on it,
for the letter A.
All of the kids colored theirs red
with green leaves.
But I liked yellow apples,
and green apples,
and red apples,
so I made a striped apple,
with all three colors sort of slipshod
and bleeding outside of the lines
in a merry visual cacophony;
I made the leaves brown.
The other three kids at my coloring table
laughed at me.
I was weird,
because apples aren't striped,
and because my coloring was wrong.
When I was 16, on a whim,
I grabbed (read: threatened and blackmailed)
my five best girls from campus,
and we drove an hour to St. Augustine,
crammed like sardines in a 1986 Chevette
with no air conditioning,
to eat hand-churned ice cream
and smoke really good cigars,
until everyone puked except me
and my girl T.
As I sat there, puffing a cigar,
taking in the tourist sites and the
eating the history,
the street artists,
and the man in dreadlocks singing
a U2 song like a bohemian dream
with an open guitar case in front of him,
and I knew I could live forever
I wished then I was old enough to buy
whiskey for the cigar,
or had the foresight to
steal some from my gramps,
and a man stopped dead and said,
and I swear this is true:
"The only other woman I've ever seen
smoke a cigar is my wife."
I never learned about boundaries,
and my light is more beautiful for it.
So everything in me screams
to break these arbitrary rules
you showed up with.
I think of the street artists,
and I wonder if I'll live forever.
I wish I never
that you colored