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Loitering Outside a Leather Bar

Saw Melancholia's gaunt face
and gown—saw her strap down
her ecstasy in an alleyway.
Evening came brine-packed
from the bog while I slept
all night in my rusty car.
Knew the tang of scat in the bog,
fields yielding their corn sugars
to beasts of burden. We shall
have plain Words upon our Tomb.
This sisterhood is misshapen.
Tomorrow I'll ride toward
the relics of a dearly beloved.
She said she would be right back.


Memories of barbed wire,
motorcycles, Monday nights.
Like a monk in Grand Central Station,
I close my eyes, homesick
for the subtle pigments of April,
the green velvet no-man's-land
where fat snails move like split
tongues in the wood mushrooms.
I know I'm not your friend.
I know you're not my lover.
After some late-afternoon
industrial-strength drinking,
you phone in a sticky-sweet
lo-fi serenade: I know, I know,
I know
. . . I cannot say
life is better without you.

Julianne Buchsbaum

South Dakota Review

Volume 50

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