Summer Girl

by Tia Prouhet

You're bro­ken. Your eyes don't see quite right, and your hands don't feel quick enough. I love you any­way. You don't talk right, but I under­stand because you taught me how.

Some­times, when peo­ple are look­ing at you and think­ing things, I know bet­ter, but I don't know what to say. I tell you to stop when you honk like a goose cause you don't have enough words.

You smile at me, big and sweet like can­died oranges, but you don't stop. And the peo­ple keep star­ing and I want to hit them and hit them, and not stop until they can't stare at any­one, until they under­stand that you're just different.

Maybe I can go to school some day, some big one cov­ered in ivy and made of brick, and learn how to fix you, way inside.

If the teach­ers are good and I can afford it I'll go, and I'll work so hard every­day until I can open you up and pull out all the dif­fer­ent inside of you. Like lit­tle bugs. I'll pick them all out, slowly, real careful.

You'll be amazed how still my hands can be while I pick out tiny bits of the bad stuff and put them all in a metal tray like in the movies. When you're all bet­ter and we're sis­ters again I can show you all the bits, float­ing in a jar. You'll want to know how I got it all out and I'll tell you it was love, it was love that taught me how. And you'll smile your orange smile and know it wasn't really.

We're get­ting older, though, and the doc­tor says this is the way you'll be till for­ever, when­ever for­ever turns out to be. That's okay too, I think.

Let's smile in the sun every day. You can be my rus­set potato and I'll be your farmer. I'll clean you off and show every­one how a strange lit­tle root like you can be wonderful.