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Powder Burn

lf you had long hair and a southern accent
           you'd be the perfect woman
, said the twenty-
                       something guy who shouldn't have crashed a Rutgers
party. Turned out he'd been a cop, his badge
           confiscated. He was playing around with his gun,
                       discharged it in an alley just to see what
would happen. I felt sorry, I think, that talking
           to me constituted a thrill for any
                       one. The literary boys liked
me, I was cute in that thin-edge-of-the-leaf
           bohemian way, eager to discuss
                       Native Son or participial
line breaks in The Waste Land. But a blue-collar guy
           with little to spend on beer and movies,
                       he deserved someone softer, less profoundly
condescending. Probably he thought so
           too—that was just his regular come-on, the sure-
                       fire one he unsnapped when bored. Let's see how she
, the tipsy college girl. Rage, sex,
           it's all entertaining compared to the long view
                       down a shadow-stained, chipped-brick, trash-choked alley.

Lesley Wheeler

Cimarron Review

Summer 2013

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