Burning Plastic Rose by Robert Morrison

Burlesque Press

This bar’s fluorescents burn, shimmering
like the remnants of an exploded star, my slight hair slick
like oil mixed with gravel. I follow flashing blouse buttons
attached to sun-darkened skin, faux gold-plated
circles, not fastened all the way up, the shirt seemingly transitory,
inviting my wandering eyes, stiff like the beads of an abacus.

I count out my chances on my fingers, crude abacuses,
as every other person disappears, shimmering
and whited-out like a mistake. I hail the bartender for transitory
courage, as the girl flashes ivory tower teeth, a slick
way to gather my attention. I sip alcohol, plated
by its hops and barley, still not knowing which buttons

to press for bravery. My mouth closed as if by a button,
this girl becomes a mental equation no abacus
could solve, her smooth skin appears plated
on her bones, as if the sun’s shimmering
took over her shell. Standing…

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