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A Love Story, Or Not

He thinks he likes Bukowski. That’s what he’s reading. Notes from a dirty old man, sitting next to what he thinks is a pretty flower, Queen Anne’s Lace. He takes a break to run. Though the tops are more yellow than he remembered, he doesn’t think it matters. No one told him about the wild parsnips, what they could do when touched. But he learns when the sun comes out and his skin is no longer his, but the brown apple that poisoned some princess in a story that his sister or him is supposed to love, but neither did. And a woman’s kiss, from some eve, from some body of water, from some daybreak, never saves a man in those stories, even though maybe they both wish it would. There’s no shade. His new lover’s body is a dress that she’s afraid will fit another’s body better. Or maybe belongs on a thrift store shelf. Maybe nowhere at all. The Bukowski book is gone, and all that’s left is Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. But the heart isn’t lonely, it’s just in the appendix and doesn’t quite do what it should. The new lover’s mouth could be a wild parsnip, too. It could be nothing. It could be all tongue and teeth.

Crystal B. Stone's poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in PHEMME, Better than Starbucks, peculiar, Sport Literate, Collective Unrest, Driftwood Press, New Verse News, Occulum, Anomaly, BONED, Eunoia Review, {isacoustic*}, Tuck Magazine, Writers Resist, Drunk Monkeys, Coldnoon, Poets Reading the News, Jet Fuel Review, Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, North Central Review, Badlands Review, Green Blotter, Southword Journal Online and Dylan Days. She is an MFA candidate at Iowa State University, gave a TEDx talk the first week of April, and her first collection of poetry, Knock-Off Monarch (Dawn Valley Press), was released on Amazon recently.