Smashed ice in a waxed paper cup.
One translucent pea hen flowing after
another, or an orange shadow
shifting on the baseboard. Orange
my safeword. Orange I said
Orange when we swam. My breath's
unreliable that way. Why is it
orange? he said. I wanted to try
something new. Do you like it? I said.
Curtains drawn, the day humming
outside like a fire engine on pause.
Orange ya glad to see me? The pea hens
trying to talk. Working on some kind
of clotted harp in their throats. Orange
I said Orange. I buy him a pile of them.
They disappear by the next morning,
leaving a smear on the chair. It's not
something I would normally
say, I tell him. That's why.
Corn syrup, then food coloring, two kinds.