Joy E. Allen a writer living in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in PANK, Word Riot, The Molotov Cocktail, Post Road Magazine, Blue Mesa Review and The MacGuffin, among other publications.

                                            T H E   P I N E A P P L E

                I’m sorry, I can’t help it that I love you. I took a walk in the rain the other day, let the droplets smack my head, and I still love you. I rolled the windows down while I drove, asked the wind to whip you from my brain, and I still love you. I burned my tongue on coffee so I couldn’t say it out loud, but here I am typing. I love you I love you I love you.

                I went to the park the other night, just in time for sunset, when pink roosts on the horizon and children go home for dinner, when the shade shifts blue and bats come darting after insects, when the grass gets colder and makes my sandaled feet ache, when my dog barks at fireflies then lies down beside me to sleep, when it’s nighttime and the stars turn into sparklers, when it’s midnight and I’m yawning but I stay on my wood bench, when it’s dawn and the paper boys’ mothers drive their station wagons slowly from driveway to driveway so their sons can wrist-flick publications onto front stoops, when it’s the work day again, when it’s five o’clock again, when it’s just in time for sunset. I went to the park to clear my head but I failed and so I love you.

              Earlier today I bought some fruit. I cut into the hard shell of a pineapple. The smell that greeted me was so enticing I made myself sick eating all of it. I could have stopped and saved some for later, sealed it up in Tupperware and slid it in my fridge, taken time and savored it but I was so tired of waiting, of meting out my sweetnesses, of watching my blood sugar, of denying indulgence. The pineapple didn’t want me thinking of its best interest, of saving it regret; it didn’t want to be staved off or kept for later, it didn’t want to be reminded of its responsibilities or vows it made, it wanted to disappear, it was begging me to eat it, it wanted to be inside me so badly, be one with my body. I couldn’t bear to say no anymore, so I went ahead and ate it all and let the juice run down my chin because it was goddamn delicious and I love you and I get worn out sometimes by not being able to do anything about it.

              Tomorrow, I’ll still love you. Though it’s inconvenient, I’ll still love you. I’ll wake up in the sunshine, and I’ll put on my shoes, and I’ll love you. I’ll see you on the street and smile. I’ll hug you hello. I’ll tell you how nice it is to see you. I’ll brush your hand with mine accidentally and you’ll wince and I’ll tell you sorry for the touch, but I’ll mean sorry for the intimacy. I’ll mean sorry I didn’t reach for you on purpose, sorry I didn’t meet you before you got married, sorry seeing me causes you pain, sorry seeing me causes you joy, sorry that you have to run, sorry there’s no time to catch up, sorry I have to meet someone in fifteen minutes anyhow, sorry for the long pause before we say goodbye, sorry we won’t make any plans. Sorry that we can’t be more than this, sorry that we can’t be less than this, sorry that there’s nothing left to say except sorry. The best thing I can do for you is to delete this without sending. And I probably will. 

J O Y   E.   A L L E N

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