Star by Kayla King

A fruit is really
just a seed and once it grows
and seeps with sweet blood

they will want to sink
carnivorous teeth into
its soft flesh. Wait too

long and that glowing
orb will fade and falter, shrink
to skin and spill its

insides, trickling
through heart and soul into thick
syrup; homemade jam.

Her first words were: fruit
and wine, a sangria of
simple phrases gleaned from

girls in garden chairs,
chatting at noon about high
school and hangovers;

their glasses of neat
Hennessy disguised as weak
tea. And years later,

her first hangover
would consist of watered down
whiskey, endless scoops

of Maraschino
cherries spread from sundown to
sunup. Juice from that

July night spots her
star printed sheets. When she
moves and stretches in

bed, an entire sky
exists beneath her back. That
boy, the one from trig,

starts tracing shapes on
her neck, needing her to know
he stayed all night. Just

wanting her and the
tart tang of the morning after.
The taste of all those

cherries and booze brand
his breath and make him recall
her lips crushed beneath

his, the heat of those
halogen lightbulbs. Now, one
flickers in the room,

sunlight peeks through her
faded yellow curtains, and
she still sleeps, and dreams

of him. She doesn’t
know how he will break her heart.
He wants the memory

of her body blanched
in moonlight, perfect and poised
for love. He’ll remember

her hair tickling his
face during the in-between
of bones and

bodies meeting. She’ll
keep the crescent tattoo of his
fingernails on her

shoulder, an imprint
left for infinite amounts
of boys who’ll

never see her that
way. She won’t let them tamper
with her tapestries

stitched from that one night.
Inside her, fields fill with a
faint forever. They

blossom with belief
for something better, straining
against her skin; his

seeds sown somewhere deep.
She will never know how much
he might’ve loved her.

And she will spill all
of herself two months later
at the clinic in

Westport, three towns from
home. And she’ll sink into her
sheets, counting every

constellation. Her
favorites: Cassiopeia
and Lyra. They’re such

pretty names for such
pretty girls soaked in stardust.
If it had been a

girl, that’s what she would
have named her. A galaxy
girl she could never



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