making fire out of ice
- when i chop herbs in the kitchen my gramma’s scent comes alive. it doesn’t matter that she’s been dead for 12 years. it doesn’t matter that she never cooked. it doesn’t matter that she never chopped herbs. the scent of fresh cut italian parsley, bruised sweet basil, peppermint—it’s all her. it’s the act of turning something into something else. it’s making fire out of ice and holding it close until it melts in your hands.
- whenever i drive through the outskirts of lee county, alabama i’m a kid again. i point out buildings, do what everyone does, remember with rose-tinted glasses where i first tongue kissed a boy in the middle of lee road 212. i put his halleluiah fingers under the lace of my bra, let him flick my right nipple without flinching. i point out where my gramma’s last apartment is, wonder who lives there after all these years, and make sure the cedar where i smoked my first marlboro red cigarette is still standing.
- the last time i made banana pudding i used instant vanilla pudding mix instead of cook & serve banana pudding mix. it was a mistake, just like the time i added cinnamon to a soup recipe instead of freshly grated nutmeg. my lips need blue-based red lipstick to look glamorous and chic, but i keep trying orange-based lip colors and wondering why my mouth becomes an open wound. when will i learn that substitutions seldom make for good decisions—
- the first time i kissed a girl and meant it, i pretended it meant nothing. i invited her into my mouth while i searched to give her something precious. i spontaneously placed my right hand between her legs and when she moaned i felt myself get wet for the first time.
- starfruits remind me of youth. it’s the sweet and tangy, maybe even sour, taste. it’s teenage angst as fruit. starfruit is queerness, but i don’t know if it’s the shape or the texture. like so few things it’s soft, crunchy, and juicy. its flavor is something i attribute to white grapes, apples, and kiwis. it’s a hybrid fruit, it doesn’t pick sides. it bleeds sweet nectar when sliced. its seeds don’t often grow above the equator.
Caseyrenée Lopez is an editor, educator, and poet. Their first full-length poetry collection, i was born dead, is forthcoming from Black Magic Media in October 2018.