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this is how love affairs start,
mid-afternoon sunlight falling on your face
as you swing your legs out the open car door
refuse her outstretched hand
lock eyes with me

you’re a vision in white eyelet,
golden hair in a messy bun
gaze the color of the sky
firm handshake
easy laugh
playing hostess doesn’t come naturally,
but you make me forget that i’m faking

i know about your quick wit,
your magic tricks
your people-watching hobby
but she didn’t mention
your shit-eating grin,
the way you smell like watermelon chapstick
i want to keep talking,
but she motions to the classmates behind us
this time, you let her lead you away

pink and blue hydrangeas everywhere,
in the vases and in the grass
everyone’s starting to liven up now
figurative ice: broken
literal ice: a melting sculpture on the table
swan becoming lake
dripping onto the manicured grass below
reverse metamorphosis

i make my rounds,
raise my glass at every table
dole out a gracious thank-you to every congratulations
warm smile for faces i haven’t seen in years
there’s no alcohol in my champagne flute,
but i’m not telling

you’re in the back,
alone with her
white lawn chairs facing one another
but you’re looking over at me
she’s giggling at something you’re saying
i debate going over there,
but someone taps me on the shoulder
and the next time i steal a glance
you’re no longer paying attention

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