palindrome

after Lisel Mueller

on her profile i see she has 2 kids,
now 1 she had in high school, now none
at all. she unaborts 1.
she is unpregnant
in 8th grade. she unresembles
her favorite pop singer Pink. she uncuts
her hair, it pulls into her scalp from clumps on the floor.
her new boyfriend forgets the weight of her.
she leaves her new boyfriend. he's forgetting
her phone number. she becomes my girlfriend
she picks up the phone & i am on the line
ungiving a goodbye. her best friend trades letters
between us. we each open lettters
from ourselves with hearts on the outside.
she transfers to our magnet school. she moves
to a neighborhood close by. we separate
at the lips. we have never kissed behind the school.
she unchecks the yes box on the note & i take away
my middle school love letter. i unmeet her cop father
& her Chicano moms. we walk backwards into Baskin-Robbins
throwing up gold medal ribbon ice cream into cups.
it rounds into scoops, flattens into gallon drums
of sugar & cream & coldness. we are six years old.
maybe we can go back to then. i unlearn
her name, the way it is spelled the same
backward. how it flips on a page, or in my mouth.
i never knew words could do that
until 5 minutes from now.

Nate Marshall, "palindrome" from Wild Hundreds. Copyright © 2015 by Nate Marshall. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)
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