The day after Thanksgiving, her mother mounted the singing reindeer with flashing antlers above the toilet, and Diana filled her ears with Angel Soft. She cringed at the trappings—tinsel strand by strand on a tree turning brown, stuffed turkey, musical chairs with cousins she saw once a year. But the holiday changed when the cousin with luscious lips like Danny Zuko handed her dried cannabis wrapped in paper. At fifteen she had no idea what lay ahead—hours waiting for vowels and consonants to catch an upward drift and tumble down before she took another drag, holding it so long she could hear toucans screech from the den below. Their big green beaks tipped in red. Her science teacher said they were tissue thin on the outside. Yet inside, honeycombs of bone. Ridges and hollows of white calcium twirling into a playground of hexagons for no one except Diana and the boy on Christmas Eve.
First published in riverbabble 17 (Summer Bloomsday 2010), Ed. Leila Rae