Vanadium, from the “Periodic Table of poetry” series by Chicago Poet Janet Kuypers


Vanadium

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#023, V)
2/24/13

I’ve been going out with my boyfriend
for five years now…

And when he took me to prom
a few years ago,
his bulging biceps
almost made his tuxedo sleeves burst.

And I know he spent
four hours a day lifting weights,
I know he drank raw eggs
and took all sorts of drugs
just so he could be the strongest…

But every girl I knew
did a double-take, all agape
whenever he entered the room.

And it was the coolest thing,
climbing up into his truck
with the awesome exhaust
and the cool flames painted down the sides,
when he would take me to the movies
or drop me off for my cosmetology classes.

Now, I always thought
it was kind of weird
that he would take different drugs
just to bulk up more,
but he’d swear they were legal,
I mean,
he even told me one of them was just
a harmless element called Vanadium,
and I don’t know,
when he said “element”
I just thought about how
I just kind of tuned out
in chemistry class,
so I typed “Vanadium”
into my smart phone,
and I didn’t see anything
about it being bad for you
or illegal or anything…

All the girls in school would ask me
if I would stick with him
after I got a job out of school…

And the thing is,
now that my twenty-third birthday
is coming up,
I’ve got a job
and I’ve been doing really well…

And he’s been dropping hints
like he might pop the question
on my birthday this June.

But he was acting really weird,
so I thought
something was fishy,
so I checked out his smart phone
for any ideas of what he might be doing
for my birthday…

And that’s when I saw
“Vanadium” on a web page link,
and I thought,
‘Oh no, is he doing MORE
to try to get even BIGGER?’…

So I went to the web page,
and I saw that Vanadium
was added to “corundum”
(what? I don’t even know
what corundum IS),
but Vanadium is added to it
to make simulated Alexandrite gemstones.

Now, wait a minute,
I know Alexandrite is my birthhtone,
and it’s only found in like Russia.
It’s really cool, it changes color
in different light,
but it’s WAY expensive,
like more than diamonds or anything,
so I figured I could never afford
any Alexandrite.

And you know,
now that I’m out of school
I’ve got a really good job at the salon,
and after being promoted
they’re looking to promote me again,
I’m starting to feel
like I can actually
GO somewhere in my life.

So now that I think about it,
I mean, it was great
to hang off my bodybuilder’s arm
all these years,
but maybe now I should start
to stand up for myself.
I mean,
he may have thought he needed Vanadium
to make himself bigger,
but there’s no way
I’m going to take an Alexandrite rip-off
with Vanadium
if that’s the best he can do…


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