She always shows off her slender legs, disregarding her blotchy department store self-tanner and the dark purple
bruises on her knees. But it’s this lack of concern that I envy,
as we stand in our apartment, shortening her denim skirt
with our dull kitchen scissors
When she dances in the lights an air of confidence
is shown to others. Where after being beaten down by a boy, any attention is sought out like gold.
Leaving us to sieve out the users, the abusers, the ones who try to take her money as it falls to the stage.
This diner is the only one open, where the patrons wait for her. A “man” stares at her fake tits and says he’ll pay.
She hates the gesture but takes it, boobs bought from
a married businessman who said, “they’ll be an investment” and today they are paying off.
We head to the back to spark up a joint next to the dumpster.
Hoping to quiet down the ringing in my ears.
She pulls out numbers from her bra, starts balling them up and aiming for the open lid. We laugh as another hopeful loses their chance,
each time she scores.
She drops a few 1’s from her pocket into the tip jar
as we take our food. Her iceburg blue eyeshadow starts to crease when she smiles. I know she will want to rest her legs to prepare for it again: the walk, the talk, the meet, the dates.
The very thing that makes her whole.
Trista Hurley-Waxali is the author of the poetry chapbook Dried Up. Her work has appeared in the journals FORTH, Enclave, and Street Line Critics, well as in the Procyon Short Story Anthology 2014 (Tayen Lane Publishing, 2015). She has performed at the O’bheal Poetry Series in Cork, Ireland and in a Helsinki Poetry Connection Poetry Jam TransLate Night Show. Trista lives in West Hollywood, where she is working on her first novel, At This Juncture.