Clean Up The Sides, And A Little Off The Top

“No fear of that.”

I’m still thinking of the words, how they felt and tasted as I spoke them
Like water, like air, like nothing at all
A flavor grown undetectable from its prolific presence in my environment
I think of the words as I buy a bucket of protein powder the size of my head
To see if I’m the kind of person who drinks protein powder

I think of them as I cruise down US 31
Listening to the radio because my phone is dead
Some new song by Ed Sheeran playing on a soft rock channel
A tickle at my eyes as I wonder if someone is falling in love to this song tonight
And try to remember the last time I fell in love with someone who had a name

The words jingle with the bells above the door of the $4 cupcake store
I order a $4 cupcake, because the universe will one day constrict to the size of an proton
And I want to know what a $4 cupcake tastes like before that happens
I hope the salted caramel frosting costs $3, because it’s my favorite part

I eat it in my car, because I don’t think my apartment can handle fancy cupcakes
Watching an employee in the restaurant across from me doing the two-step
Returning to professional as a manager comes back around the bend
And I think about the words
And the spaces around them

I went in for my regular haircut
If regular can describe something that happens three times a year
The stylist and I chat as the dead parts of me fall to the ground
About generation gaps, the right to refuse service, and male pattern baldness
The trait skips generations, she tells me
So if my dad had it, it’ll skip me, but affect my kids, and I say

“No fear of that.”

I don’t think about the words or what they mean
But the way they came out, unconscious, instinctual
Something I’ve grown accustomed to saying
A thought I don’t think about any more

Ed Sheeran finishes his song
And makes room on the radio for someone who sounds like Ed Sheeran
But with occasional screaming
I throw the cupcake box into a public trash bin
I respect my apartment enough to pretend that I’m not having affairs with $4 cupcakes
And drive home
Wondering what other things I’ve been saying that I no longer think about.

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