That Kind of Woman

The itching blisters of yard work – certain sensitivities say: enough is enough.

I bought her a poetry book as a gift but kept it for myself. I'm that kind of woman.

When pulling the grocery carts apart, my hand jerked to knock a man from his thoughts. He was wearing a handgun on his belt and nodded politely as the greeter pointed out pictures of firearms on his iPhone. They both paused to listen to me make an awkward apology involving some quip about fighting with carts.

Kenya and her AK-47's filled wishing wells of peace with pennies. But following the Glock clipped to the ass of the white-haired man strolling down the produce aisle at Meijer felt like sitting on my knees in church with a barrel to my back. How the profane licks the sacred on a hot, hot day.

I ate the whole bag of dark chocolate covered blueberries because I'm that kind of woman.

When he was long at work, I would climb the deacon's bench in the mudroom in order to reach his black bag, high on the shelf. Old varnish peeling up from the bench crackled under my bare feet like pieces of petrified paper. The leather bag was heavy and required concentration, but what a treasure trove for a treacherous child! Syringes in sterile pouches. Gauze and bandages rolled in perfect bundles, like soldiers awaiting command. Stethoscopes, otoscopes. Scissors and scalpel. For a few tiny moments I stole a man's most prized possession. That kind of girl.

I remember hearing the faint sizzling as long, dry grasses transferred the remnants of life to the waiting arms of death. I smelled the inside of sooted punishment long before I was seared by the flames. She slapped me so hard when she found out what I had done that the brace on my back tooth came off into my mouth. People could have died. Why? Why?

In the back of the old blue Ford truck, I held the match until it burned my fingers, over and over again. I could see into its soul. On the last match, I let it drop over the side into summer's thirsty throat. Even as the wind took the fire further and further up the hill, I laid frozen in the bed of the truck, staring up at the sky. I was that kind of girl.

Sugar and spice and everything nice / I was born this way – hey . . .

Hot and hazy afternoons on his waterbed in the basement, his parent's shower, his copper sparkled RX-7 – the homecoming queen of high repute gave what was needed and took what she had to have. The boy exalted; the girl, hidden – ferreted away to forge her shield and mask in preparation for the slutty double standard of mice and men.

Don't cry for me, Argentina.

When I wasn't allowed to have things, I stole them – cookies in the night, money from Mom's wallet, my sister's Midnight Oil record. Just share with me, okay? I want to be me.

That kind of woman.