“But in the end, stories are about one person saying to another: This is the way it feels to me. Can you understand what I’m saying? Does it feel this way to you?” —Kazuo Ishiguro
If you want to be a pilot,
grow up in a small town
where they answer the phone
at the auto parts store
with a loud “Yell-ow!”
And at the hair salon the talk
is neighbors and their little angels:
“When she sleeps we put it up in braids?
It’s got such a beautiful natural wave,
don’t you think?”
The stylists heckle, warming up.
“Hey! You took pictures with my phone!”
“What kind of insulting nickname can I give you?
Wait! Oh, hi Lola.”
“How about Lolita? Muffin?”
“Do I look like a bran muffin to you?”
“Oh, you’ve been Muffin for years.
You have the coloring of a bran muffin.”
“It’s better than Lennie. We call Sam Lennie.
From Mice and Men.”
No, Lenny Kravitz! Because of the piercing stuff.”
“Boys, you coming back? We got a perm special.”
I wave it away, the girls from Central laughing.
Lunchtime, we’re on the bypass
by the base parkway,
me and Blake, him with a Double Deluxe
and me just with the fries,
watching a T-41 trying to land
in a cross-wind.
“You could kill yourself in one of those things,”
he gets the words out, chewing,
wiping his chin.
And I say, yes.
Yes. You could.