the “a” line at southwest

she’s in line behind me
waiting to get older
forcing the issue

talking too loud
to that boy
she just met
about her condom stash

with teeth that tether her words
practiced, forced
shiny metal that makes me squint
at the awkwardness
of whatever it is
she is saying

her dad bought her pepper spray
for her 15th birthday
and borrows condoms from her

the women, gray and red
standing next to me
share a glance
and a laugh
at the preening of a plume
that has yet to grow feathers

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