|Jul/Aug 2002 • Poetry • Special Feature|
She's looking across the alley
at the neighbor's dog,
lying in its own crap.
She drinks a Dos Equis and feels,
well, stupid. Stupid that she called
in sick because her pinky toenail's sharp
edge cut into the next toe, and she
can't wear shoes. This is the kind
of thing that happens to her, fate
dispensing oddities too bizarre
to become funny stories at Xmas parties.
She should keep an album
of ailments: her aversion to buttons
of any kind, an allergy to patent
leather, and active oil gland
on her eyelid that weeps a golden
liquid. She knows everyone has some
peculiarities, but she has them all.
And then some. Her tombstone should
read, "Here lies the biggest freak
on this planet. Or any other." She puts
her feet up, sips her beer in her warm
kitchen, not working, not lying
in her own crap, and she feels, well, better.
Did you hear the one about
She probably says daas ek-wees she hears from one
of the two wrangler-wearing bighairs at the end of the bar.
She has never said that in her life. She can speak Spanish
fluently and enough German to get by. These girls dispense
of her with a nod of their breasts. She's ugly; she already
knows that. Her mother just stopped snapping pictures
for photo albums when she turned two. What was the point?
When she bought face powder at Macy's, she laughed
to the prettied girl behind the counter: do you have something
to mattify ugly? The girl just looked down at her own nails,
a rhinestone studding each one. She was only joking,
but she does know she's ugly. But she's never been called
stupid. That is one thing she isn't. She's on her way
to Tucson to seal a deal that no one, not even her Ivy-League
boss could touch. But here in Tombstone, these girls need
to have their names tooled on their belts to remember them.
Dos Equis, she yells to the blond-boy-bartender telling the girls
something that makes them ha ha ha loudly, goddamnit, give me
a Dos Equis. And she's smart enough to know that the looks
on their faces mean they never even knew she was there.