If childhood had a flavor,

It would not be this: Scraping
shards of glass into a dustpan
Dim lightbulbs
spit out a
warm light. Sticky, sour,
fermented lemonade
mixed with sweat,
a bottle shaped dent
In the dirt-brown tile.
It would be: Blue
buttercream frosting
sticking to your tongue, swallowed
sodapop still fizzing,
fingerpaints still staining hands,
even after three or four washes,
like the faded glow
of a nightlight
you’ve already turned off.
Still, I can’t get
the bitter citrus out of me,
Even after three washes.

James Bowie High School


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