I used to pull numbers round
from my pale head.
I was the kid who always won the guessing
games at birthday parties, leaving
Moriah and Kelly freckled and blank,
fists soft and half-melted around
pink napkins, chocolate whispering
above lips that were about to give
the wrong answer.
Mothers stopped letting me play.
There was nothing they could pull
from a paper bag I hadn’t already seen,
no item small enough to hide
behind the dark corners of their ears
I couldn’t coax out.
I heard the numbers’ square feet
marching whole minutes off,
saw them in a holy flash,
spit them out before I had time
to question how I knew.
They burned on my tongue
sweet as lightning.