Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2017  Vol. 16 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Poem for the Speakeasy

Of course we’d never have gone.
Any bathtub gin would have been gifted
by an on-the-fringe cousin, any violin-cased
tommy gun bridge-tossed in terror.
But we love the speakeasy not because
we wouldn’t have gone, but because
it wouldn’t have been us going.
We’d have pushed past heavy drapes
and slipped seamlessly into slink,
me a drop-dead moll with eyebrows severe
as a pearl-pursed snubnose, you silent
and spatted with a drink-to-table clink
that means both you’re safe and you’re not.
Look at us there, our hair glossed,
our cigarettes tiny gaslights softening
our full, young faces. Look,our eyes
are firelit. It’s not a cherry-glow reflection,
or our candle’s ragged breathing. It’s not
the gleam of the trumpet bell on stage.
In this place, we’re filled with flame.
We’re hydrogen. We’re phosphorus.
Oh, darling, we say, look at me burning.
Oh, darling, we say, darling, look at me.  

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