Gleaming and Faded


Rick Furman

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 106 in 2003.
Her tangerine lips and everything so full,
Mexican eyes like coals burning from obscure to gray,
said she was Italian and Spanish
but Donna Chavez was pura Chicana,
such were the times and I
loved her gleaming tangier lips and the
sway of her body as we danced.
Teasing me, you move pretty good for a white boy,
we left and snuck silently under the watchful kitchen window,
into my room and touched each other lightly, slowly,
my mouth stripping her face of apricot, devouring the essence
for so long, and it was enough until she said,
you don't have to be shy,
and I was too young to know, to not be hurt so
my body worked to a fury of sweat and screams to prove I wasn't.
As morning arrived my pillow
gleamed with bright zinc orange streaks of lip gloss,
like the blinding mean wave of the sun,
or a Pollack oil flailing in lines
never understood, but glorious
like seventeen year old Mexican girls
in Los Angeles in 1982 who liked
white boys and were never allowed to be Mexican.
Silently watched her naked pale mouth
quiver in dreams, like an apple dissected, smothered in honey,
fading into browning slices, but still perfect,
with eyes closed, or merely
letting go. Kissing her forehead
as she stirred, wondering what else
would soon be revealed as faded.