Pink Cheeks
Illustration by  Malaika Astorga

Illustration by Malaika Astorga

There is a recklessness to the way you push me out into Clinton lake that makes me feel as if I mean nothing to the world, and I love it .

In the grand scheme of things we mean nothing.

And yet

When we close our eyes on hot summer Saturdays in smelly man made sand swells we are infinite, our fingers trace tediously across the rosy pink glowing, glittering, glossy cheeks of angels, Nephilim sing in choirs to our soft skin,

I remember the first time I realized what I wanted, I was practically a child, just supped from my sweaty teen fling, my last whim of manic panic pink potion staining my scalp and my nail beds.

We often say that kids don’t know,

I knew then,

Just like I knew in third grade, that I was obsessed with the girl with the long black curls that swayed in the hallway, the way her sketchers lit up the room like her voice lit up my life,

No, I did not want her, nor did I want to be her, but I was drawn to her.

I was ready to discover, how pink cheeks and glittery girls eyeshadow turns bubble gum bubbles green, grassy, gone like litter on glossy pink cheeks,

The same way I was drawn to you.

I remember when I realized that meant I was, queer.

I rolled the word over my tongue, over and over and over again.

I remember kissing my first girl, I rolled her name over and over again.

I remember when I learned how to swim, and when I learned how to roller skate, why didn’t I run to my mom, beaming, bubbling and bursting ready to show her my new trick,

And yet, when I learned how to kiss a girl,

I tucked that trick tightly away,

years passed before I let it out.

Did I not think my mommy would be proud? Of what I learned?

a new trick that I was good at?


I can kiss boys and girls, Are you proud?

Kahill Perkins is a writer and poet from Kansas. Her collection of essays Bite Back was published early last year.


Kahill Perkins