Through the streets they ran
clasping hands, hard
bare feet beating a rough rhythm into the punishingly cold jagged asphalt,
barely feeling the shards of beer bottles cutting into chitinaceous heels
and laughing at the trail of blood their small hard footprints left behind.
Charm roughly pulled her forward,
cutting a raging path through the back-alleys, across dark streets
flicking off the lit orange “DON’T WALK” hands. It took more to stop these two.
She felt the roughness of calluses and blisters
on the hot dry model-mold hand
brush against the sharp circular ridges of her own
and she held on harder.
Stars overhead glittered through orange smog
at the rollicking ids down below
watching the progress of their bobbing heads with streaming shining hair
one long, one short
coruscating in rhythm with the strong, gleaming running legs.
They passed metro stations, drugstores, vacant hair salons
Strip Club Row, its neon lights of obscenity intensifying the smog
streetwalkers, bums, leering louts
not knowing what they saw as they ran
not knowing what streets they passed, how many miles.
Finally Charm stopped her. She rubbed her calves, which she now realized ached
the adrenaline high had numbed her to the lactic acid burn
and she looked up at leaves of a burgeoning rosebush
faintly illuminated by a lone streetlamp.
They were in front of a little pink suburban-looking
house, with a white fence
lights off at this insane hour, looking SOOOO respectable.
She’d grown up here. She knew the things that happened to kids in this house.
Charm saw her eyes and understood everything.
Slowly, methodically, she plucked one of the perfect well-kept hybrid tea roses
from over her head, dangling from the umbrella of pruned foliage
and, looking directly into her eyes,
stuffed the rose into her mouth
She chewed through the petals, hungrily, viciously
and they tasted nothing like they smelled
the spicy tangy chewiness according not at all
with their delicate appearance.
Slowly, in a quiet frenzy,
she and Charm ate their way
through every single rose on that fastidious rosebush
until all of the beautiful delicate shapes, with their perfect petals
She felt the lights of tall, tall buildings of the faraway Harbor warm her face.
This is my city, she thought.
She felt the cool intense moonlight of Charm’s eyes
suddenly blaze into a forest fire as they watched her
windows to a soul
she could now prove she still had
the only drug either of them would need now.