I Never Was a Tiger Lily
There are dandelion sprouts taking off like tiny hot air balloons. They will travel farther away than we ever will, see sights that we will never see. A marbled rock the color of pound cake. A glacier glowing blue as it suffocates. I wonder where you are now. If you know where I’m going. I returned to the lake with the tiny pebbles, felt my skin shed itself away. I watched lovers grope each other under the water, remembering your kiss on my neck, your hand inside my swimsuit, searching. I find you in the corners of my motel rooms where the dust collects like miniature animals. All the sheets smell like Hawaii. I drive past the coasts with lighthouses, the ones we never saw. The towns outlined in gray. I watch their high school baseball games, eat their greasy diner food. There is a man followed by another man. The only difference is their hair color. I don’t look them in the eyes when I touch them. They close their eyes, push themselves inside of me. They are everything you aren’t. You talk about your music and your dad and her. She is sunshine and rainbows. I notice how the edge of the sunflower field by my motel lines up perfectly with the road, how each stalk turns its back to the mountains. Lately, you’ve tasted the sweetness of cream, how it sits heavy on your tongue. Soon, you will forget the taste of spoiled milk. How the container sat open for three days on your counter after I left, allowing the dying flies in your apartment to outlast the smell of me on your hands, in your hair. Sometimes you go back to the town with the lakeshore as big as a beach. You stare at the tiger lilies grouping together like wild beasts. People on the street, towels slung carelessly over their shoulders like skinned carcasses, will look at you and then look away. The sign says Please Do Not Pick the Flowers. I warned you but you kissed me anyway, when no one was looking. I warned you not to pick the flowers, that I never was a tiger lily.
Hillary Leftwich resides in Denver with her son. In her day jobs she has worked as a private investigator, maid, and pinup model. She is the associate editor at The Conium Review and Reader/Marketing Coordinator for Vestal Review. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Hobart, Matter Press, WhiskeyPaper, NANO Fiction, Monkeybicycle, Dogzplot, Cease, Cows, Pure Slush, FlashFiction.net, Gone Lawn and others.