Crooked Pinky

This wacked-out little finger?

It was third grade,

he was Melvin,

she was Irene,

and I was in the way.

To Melvin I was.

Nobody asked Irene.

Irene had dark eyes,

raven hair,

a quiet smile.

Melvin wanted to see me at recess

to bend my fingers backward.

I didn’t know that’s what he wanted

until he grabbed my hand.

“Hey, that hurt!” I yelled,

balling my hand into a fist

and slugging Melvin’s bony chest,


“I’m glad Melvin’s crying,” Irene whispered,

running cold water over this very finger,

which stayed cheerfully purple and swollen

for over a month.

Talk story

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