Flat and skinny with lush, straight

black hair flowing past her waist,

she could be Rapunzel, but talks

like a guy. We hang out in the same

crowd by the corner Carvel. She

laughs heartily at my wisecracks,

and like me, favors The Ramones

and hates the world. I reassure her:

nobody blames her for her older

brother’s suspected role in setting

up a well-liked neighborhood pot

dealer for a home-invasion-gun-

point-robbery. Seventeen, she takes

no breaks between seedy boyfriends.

She dumps the latest, a puppy-dog-

eyed asshole after a roll of quarters

she keeps stashed in the sock drawer

of the dresser by her bed disappears.

Next day, it’s me and Donna, smoking

a joint, lounging in the back seat of

a friend's wreck. The way she laughs,

talks, and her hair—strikes me—

as better than tits or ass. We get into

making out—when abruptly, she pulls

away, says, "We can't, we're friends."

"Oh," I say, sadly, "you mean like you

just wanna be friends?" "No," she says,

"it's just that we are friends."

Ted Jonathan is a poet and short story writer. Born and raised in the Bronx, he currently lives in New Jersey. His poems and stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, most recently: Paterson Literary ReviewHiram Poetry Review, and Open Minds Quarterly. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize twice. His chapbook Spiked Libido was published by Neukeia Press. His full-length collection of poems and short stories, Bones & Jokes, was published by NYQ Books (2009). His poetry collection RUN was published by NYQ Books (2016). Contact: