Gold freckles grace his shoulders like stars
in a clear night’s sky; born with purple eyes
that he covers with blue contact lenses.
He’s laid out like a starfish on Maria’s bed,
enjoying the feel of fresh cotton sheets
on his naked body. Rain pings
off the tin roof, crisp air rushes
the window, mixes with the lavender scent
of her bedroom. Lightning cracks;
he wonders when she’ll return from Albuquerque.
He always wears the contacts. Otherwise, people stare.
The mechanic shop has called three times—
Come pick up the slack. No.
He’s tired of being under a chassis,
covered in grease, tinkering with carburetors.
Money for he-and-Maria and Maria’s ring –
it comes from that shop at seventeen-oh-eight Fleur Drive
where his dieseled hands ache for tools
of a different kind: barn wood, table saws, hairpin legs.
He tries to remember to forget his dream.
The blank canvas of desire
full of shapes and lines
drawn in invisible ink
makes his eyes shift colors
from blue to green to purple.
Her mother’s words
“es only un mecánico?”
echo in his head.
As the tin roof showers,
sheds grime from in-between
its grooved fingers,
swipes both eyes,
throws away the contact lenses.
AJ Oxenford lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, where she teaches at a local college; she also owns a business with her husband where they take down barns and make furniture. She loves the Iowa Hawkeyes, reading mystery novels, and cat naps (with her cats).