Radio Show by Lake Vargas

Let me talk about something else.

Not the leaps in front of cars or
the butterfly nets of headlights.

Not smoke wreathing itself around
each of my teeth, or pills fizzing

into nothing beneath my tongue.
Or my father’s hand or my own,

pinking and curling. Don’t let me
talk about my decade-old baptism,

the paintings on the ceiling bluer
by a chlorinated pane. Women

in the pews dipping their heads.
My pastor rolling up his sleeves,

his arms glistening from the elbow
downward. Don’t let me talk

about the boy with the pink hair
who lent me to the floorboards.

The boy with the brown eyes
who swore sunflowers would

bloom across our bathroom tiles.
The boy who slid a hand under

my dress while I was shaking.
No, I don’t want this; I will

never want it again. Please
throw your arms around me,

block my view of the television
with your sweater’s blue wool.

There’s nothing to see here,
but my smallest finger slides

across the stitching, tiny pelts
of something to let you know

I’m here. But I don’t think you
need the reminder. Every time

you laugh, I draw back to watch
the joy unfurl across your face,

and then I fall in again, back
to fitting myself where I belong.


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