Cheese Stick Love

By Sara Malott

It was just your everyday
flimsy cardboard
takeout box.
The words “thank you”
and “come again”
were printed on top.

I want to be the reason you smile
every time you see pink roses
that look just like the pink roses
on the dress
I wore to your grandmother’s birthday party.

Every inch of the box
covered in yesterday’s grease.
The smell of the garlicky contents inside
overpowered our refrigerator
and soon I could almost hear my name
being whispered by the brown greasy box.

I don’t want to be
the reason you wake up every morning.
But I want to be the reason you take a shower
because you want to smell nice
for me.

So I took the box,
opened the box,
sat down with the box,
and marvelled at the cheese sticks
I found inside.

And then, my brother came home.

I don’t want to be a nice little house on the hill
that you look up at every now and then
and think:
“That’s a cute house!”
as you drive home to your superior house
because it has more to offer.

There were tears, shouts, and slamming doors,
hard feelings and despair.
He wouldn’t talk to me the rest of the day.
He was looking forward to them for so long.

I want someone to be angry about my absence.
I want to be loved
like JFK
and Elvis.
Like new pencils
and old books.

I felt like a deflated balloon.
I took away my brother’s happiness.

I want to be what what your car smells like.

I want our love to be friendship.
I want our love to be fireworks and lightening bugs.
I want our love to be winter and summer
all at once.

If anyone takes you away
like I took those cheese sticks,
I’ll die.
But it’s nice to know
that I have something to die over.

I want our love to light
the entire town on fire.
Well, maybe not.
Because then we have a big flame
that burns out too fast.
And I want us to last.

I want a cheese stick love
important enough,
but not so important
that it’s scary and stressful
like college
or big tests
or gym class.

And
I want it to be with you.

StockSnap_ITNL2XJS21

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