Dear Luke

Dear Luke,

They say that with great power comes great responsibility
and really the responsibility here falls on my shoulders, and not
because I’m some super hero out to save the world
but because
I’m flat out wildly and wonderfully addicted to your kryptonite
and I’d rather have it than you, which
maybe is mean but let’s be real –

you’re allergic to potatoes
and you will die if you have anything to do with them
and I will absolutely perish without them

So it might be a cute idea –
you’re his best friend and she’s my best friend
and they’re dating
and if you and I dated we’d be
a real cool team of best friends and we could live
a fun life of double dates and two-tent camping excursions
and meet up for fun dinners in different cities
all summer

but come on, what fun is dinner without potatoes?

And what would you eat at brunch?
What would I eat at brunch?
What if
I ate a heap of hash browns and had too many
mimosas and smooched ya solid
and your throat closed up and we had to dine and dash
because your potato-hating body
started to revolt?

I try to be considerate, make compromises
when it’s fair and when it makes sense
but if we were to date and I were to be forced
into a potato-less existence, boyyyy

you might come home from work early one day
and find me in a fit of flailing limbs
on the kitchen floor
full tantrum, full toddler-level meltdown
and realize that I’m
not actually okay
with giving up potatoes for you

That might be just the tip of the home fry though –
who knows how I could unravel
when trying to live a responsible
potato-free life?

Maybe I would stop seeing cars on the road
and instead see casserole dish after casserole dish
of scalloped potatoes
filing between the yellow lines

Maybe I would be caught sniffing the open Boulder Canyon bag
or cradling the crunchy little creatures in my palms
in the break room at work

Maybe we would be in a fight and I would get drunk
and change all of your passwords to “potatofucker”
and then forget when I sobered up
and we’d have no idea how to remedy the problem

Maybe I would have panic attacks at the farmers market
and sit in the car shaking, feeling all the thousands
of little potato eyes staring at me, calling
my name from their farm stands

Maybe we would go to your family’s house
for Thanksgiving and we’d go around the table
sharing our gratitude and it would be my turn
and I’d lose it a bit and slam my hands on the table
and cause everyone’s mashed cauliflower to shake on their plates
and smile sweet and say, “I’m grateful that you two
lovely procreating people were able to create a kid who can’t eat
pierogis or samosas or latkes or tots or poutine
or any other potato food.”

Maybe your mother would hate me after that.

Maybe your alarm would go off before mine
on weekdays and we’d be waking up
after a particularly lazy lovebird night
and I’d be mid-stretch, star-fished across the bed
and hear you holler in horror
like the guys in movies do

I’d run into the bathroom and find
huge red lipstick drawings of french fries
scribbled across the mirror
and maybe I’d try to blame Quentin, the kid
we pay to mow the lawn, or the cat
but we’d both know
that I was sleep-craving crisp
and salty, hand-cut slivers of hallelujah –
probably laying right next to you
in bed and making little happy
french-fry chewing noises after my
accidental art walk

Luke! You’re sweet and all but good god,
we will never work out.

They say that with great power comes great responsibility
and I have the power to kill you with a kiss

so I’ve got to responsibly revoke the double date dream

See ya around,
Rachel

March Challenge: 3.29

.low blow.

hey, hey
hang up the gloves

let’s play Scrabble and spell it all out,
fill the grid real quick,
and call it a tie

I’d rather be drinking miso soup
in front of rain-stained windows with you
and hand you a napkin
when thai hot is too hot but you tried anyway

I’d rather be perched over your back,
tracing your shoulder blades
and kneading the sleepless nights
and stress out of your body

I’d rather have the cat on my shoulder
and chatter to you about camping this summer
while sipping wine and shifting
from foot to foot
on the cool kitchen tile floor

I’d rather the heat rise to my cheeks
when I realize that the neighbors
have turned up their tv
to tune out the sexual soundtrack
we’re filling the neighborhood with
while the fire crackles
next to us in the early-evening backyard

I’d rather my knee touch yours
while we’re cross-legged on the couch
folding laundry

let’s let it go, forget
the swings we’ve taken
and do what I’d rather, you’d rather,
we’d rather be doing

March Challenge: 3.28

.lovesick.

The dog won’t eat

I have to trick her with
free range eggs and farm-fresh yogurt
and bits of carrots that look delicious
but I know she’ll just
hide them around the house

Sometimes she eats the whole bowl
quickly and sneaky, like
maybe she’s not supposed to be eating
even though her name is
painted around the edge of the dish

and then pukes on whichever rug
she’s nearest to

I couldn’t figure it out

Even the vet
ran her tests and found everything
down to the pads on her feet
to be in great health

Even my mother
the great Googler of all problems
couldn’t find a solid solution
to try out

But I figured it out yesterday
when I tossed a raggedy stuffed raccoon
across the yard for her
and she just looked at the neighbor’s fence
and sighed –

the little lovepup is lovesick

She and her neighbordog, Lucy,
use to dig under the fence between them
and take turns barking and digging and
kissing each other on the dirt-coated nose
once they could fit enough of themselves
under the fence

The neighbors piled stones in the holes
I piled bricks and branches
and still they dug –
swapping toys and jumping in joy

like two happy shadows
stuck on either side of the chainlink

But Lucy lost her pep –
She stopped digging so hard
Her eyes grew shallow and lost
Her fur piled in patches across her yard
Her humans started crying when they called her
back into the house

And one day she wasn’t on
the other side of the fence

And the next day

And the next week

Now the toys that I tossed back over the fence
lay there in the dirt
and they aren’t snuck back under

And my dog looks at the fence and sighs
too lovesick to play
too lovesick to eat

March Challenge: 3.27

.epiphany.

You’re typing at work and the stress
is enough to bring a clydesdale to its knees
and you’re moving too fast and you notice
the UNCAPITALIZED “i” in an email to a coworker
that’s already been sent and

HOLY SHIT what if you’re suddenly struck
by a bolt of lightning that has somehow
vaporized its way through the snow flakes,
zigzagged between closed-door warehouses,
battle-for-the-dollar kitty corner coffee cafes
and red-green-yellow
red-green-yellow
red-green-yellow forever
traffic lights
what if you’re suddenly struck dead

and that godforsaken, kingdom destroying,
grammar grenade of a lowercase “i”
is forever a part of the last thing you ever type
to another human being in this crazy
and unpredictable life?

What if?!

March Challenge: 3.26

.rain.

when you hold her hand
and the wrinkles under your thumb feel
thin as the elbows of her favorite sweater
you realize
the great rain of the soul
that’s been dragging at the edges
of every smile

you hop a plane with friends
grab sandwiches and wetsuits
from the shack store on the island, just
off the airstrip to the south

you set up tarps and tents and
heat water and laugh
despite the spring Alaska drizzle

in the morning the lot of you
shrug and struggle into wetsuits
and jog out across the sand

they’re running for the waves
for the adrenaline
and you’re running from the words
that you want to say but can’t fit your mouth around
the downpour drowning it all
in the back of your throat

when you get back to her
and press your lips to her cheek
she tries to remember you
and you tell her it’s okay and try not to cry

you try not to cry
but the salt’s under your skin
and there’s no other way out

March Challenge: 3.25

.desire.

I’m laying on the not-new carpet in your apartment,
hair splayed out in wild red coils –
the frayed ends vibrating gently with the bass in the air

I watch your ankles and socked feet as you tap
this pedal and double tap that pedal
and the sound morphs

and breaks me into goosebumps

and your eyes are closed so you don’t see
the way I’m looking up at you
and brushing my bottom lip with the heat of my finger

Your hands on the neck of the guitar
have me on fire with envy
and I wrap my fingers into my hair to keep

from reaching for you

March Challenge: 3.22

.disappointment.

Real talk –
you truly are a tall
dark and handsome, Fender-playing
Spiderman-impersonating bone bag of disappointment

I mean, I’m not trying to be rude
but I wanted to
cook a heap of linguine
and sip a solid Malbec and cozy up
with you and bff Netflix and
a fire in the wood stove

And you busted that plan to pieces
and I’m kinda grateful, really,
because your weird is not
my kind of weird and we both know it

but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t
want to give it a try
just for some pasta and a rom-com
and a little heat on
the cold side of the bed