When I was little my well-meaning aunt bought me footie pajamas. My parents knew better. They encouraged (forced) me to wear them in front of my aunt, who was delighted for about three seconds until she saw my face. She asked me what was the matter and then took care of it without hesitation. She put me on the couch and she sat on the floor and very carefully cut off those damned claustrophobic-making footies. They were great pajamas after that, and she has been my favorite aunt ever since.

In college I sought out and stayed with the person who could give me, maybe not the best, but the most orgasms.

Two years ago, fourth of July. On top of a parking deck, downtown, among a strange circle of people I'd fallen in with. Friends of friends, and my primary connections were not there that night - me and a bunch of people whose names I could only sometimes remember. I told some lies and took my blanket off somewhere I wouldn't have to make conversation or listen to conversations that didn't need forcing.

It was not until the fireworks started that I realized I had had quite a lot to smoke.   Oh, my.   My brain, wider. My picnic blanket did nothing to protect me from the hard roughness of concrete, which was fine and good. The day's savedup warmth was under me, meeting my skin everywhere. And over me the sky was exploding, so slow and loud, the explosions cared enough to keep me safe from shock and I was open to the entirety of it, I was in the thick of it and I did not blink.

The thing about explosions is that they get bigger and their force spreads out. Ripples in the sky don't end, if you don't turn away. A girl's voice behind me. Her slow light laugh went on and on.   Yeah   she said.   Yeah. We can do that.   Yes.