Movie alone, 1999

american beauty rose

In this autumn of disappointment

I wore my brand new birthday sweater

not yet knowing

the fuzzy balls would soon sprout all over

like overnight dandelions.

I cursed myself for arriving

before the lights dimmed.

Better to risk a bad seat

than endure curious stares

from dozens of couples.

I invented alibis, just in case:

“He’s in the bathroom.”

“He’s buying popcorn.”

Then—“He stood me up.”

But no one spoke.

Why didn’t I just wait for the rental?

I’m tired of too much school and work but no life.

I’m tired of unreturned emails from my best friend.

I’m tired of this crushing isolation.

A night out will do me good, I reasoned.

As an American Beauty rose unfolded in the dark

the melancholy thorns pricked me

while I sought a beautiful escape.

No longer naive

I rushed to my car before the credits rolled

and my loneliness multiplied

like mushrooms after rain.

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