Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The one drag show in town is closing

and tonight the snow is a performance,
the way it changes light and sound.

Lit windows like fish eyes open
to the alien sky.

Our hostess sashays across the floor,
leans over our chairs and hooks

our purse straps with one finger.
This is the cheap bitches’ table over here!

she hoots to the crowd. We laugh
at ourselves. This shit looks like

you got it at the airport! Praise be
her silicon cheekbones, perfect

scoops of cream. Praise be
her russet wig and feral cat

eyes, her dress made out
of straws. We dance. We dance.

Champagne bleeds from plastic
flutes, pools around the table.

From here we can forget
our circumference of soy and corn,

blind as we are to the smoke-
stacks at the edge of town,

their smog sometimes white,
sometimes gray, sometimes gold.

This is midwinter in mid-country:
luxuriating in banality,

the iron trees, clouds the color
of gasoline, austere fields leaking

pleasure. How I long to be undressed
by unshaking hands.

I look into your eyes,
and I am denied. My voice

is like grass seeds caught
in the wind. But I am a good dog.

Halved pills, stress rash, stolen
television: I don’t cry. I don’t cry,

though the coyote crouches
on my chest and howls. This club

is bankrupt. No one here pays
for sequins flashing at the throat,

and this is the midwestern way:
a man who has everything

believes he is bad, sits at home
alone and feels good about it.

The rest of us will dance
tonight with our eyes closed.

The rest of us are in pain  

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