May Contain Traces
In grade three I was jealous of the boy
who had an EpiPen, Aaron. With it,
he could survive peanuts. Like a videogame
egg it was hidden elsewhere to be uncovered
during moments of kingdom crisis.
In China, workers weave through fields
pulling paintbrushes across crops
for pollination, the bees gone, fallen
onto sidewalks, a billion yellow blossoms
underfoot. Sadness crunches in me
as my mind’s foot traipses over them,
over my misinformation of them.
I am not okay. I am spooning chemicals
into my mouth and calling them food.
My produce, hauled north for two weeks
from California, smells like truck stop—
this apple could actually be a candle.
A classroom aid sprinted to Aaron
when he fell from his desk choking
on invisible intruders, his face swelling
purple. She crumpled him against her
chest, plunging the pen in. The classroom
held its collective breath. I wanted to be
held like that, protected from some
trace threat. I am still so misinformed
and selfish. See, I am tracing threats
onto my placemat, spelling them out
in 99¢ alphabet soup. Can someone please
tell me what’s going on? My mouth feels
like it’s hardened into plastic. I wish I
could live quietly in China, painting fruit
onto trees, thinking of the preservatives
sprinkled into me, thinking isn’t it lovely
how someone wants to preserve me?