by Zinta Aistars
Z, senior year, Comstock High School
I was eighteen and the world,
as they say, was my oyster--
the kind you drink down raw,
let it slide easy down your throat,
lightly spiced, a touch peppery,
a slick and succulent aphrodisiac.
Even the pearl was mine,
grit mulled and churned and chewed,
worked over and over
by those with swelling hearts.
I'm three decades past that now.
The string of pearls has broken.
I chew new grit, tongue tip
drawn to that sore place
at the back tooth, a vague throbbing,
just enough to keep me up nights.
Empty oyster shells litter my pantry.
Sand spills between my fingers.
The swelling heart is mine--
fermenting dreams long gone to vinegar,
counterfeit loves that never quite warmed
beyond room temperature,
faith that remains lagging
but hopeful, ever hopeful
for another chance at the prom.