STICKY GLITTER by Joanna Valente

From the sky on her

fingers wrapped like cellophane

trapping ocean

inside her fingers all

salty from pretzels on the board

walk;

it’s here ghosts trapped by

this sea

side town remind her

not to get stuck

too, become an AI

bot.

If she dyed her hair

a different color, would she be a different

person?

Would someone love her and hold

her like a rose carved

from glass?

Or was there always something about her,

a cave in shadows,

its smells of sandalwood

and seaweed,

stuck in time. All that glitters isn’t

gold, the ghosts write

in sand.

Once daddy took her for ice cream

she ate in the back

of his silver

Buick, the one with the blue

velvet seats that smelled of cigars

even though daddy never smoked.

It was then a faint memory that wasn’t

her memory of a woman who grew up

to be a ghost

found her. The ghost lived

in a circular room

a run down

Victorian house, she dressed only in

a bathrobe, her smile a pair of rotted fish.

This is why

she never wanted to grow up.

She just wanted to trap all the glitter

in the world even if it wasn’t real,

just illusionary sparkle,

algorithmic happiness —

stop the future from

being the past.