Stevie Howell


                                        Chiffon, sequins,
Lace and fur—her mother’s sentimental Cher
wardrobe; paisley oozing off slouching
caster clothes rail, half-lit halo,
subterranean corona,
                                        stool-less bar clad in brass
and mirror. Knotted fish net web, colossal,
suspended kitty corner, cockeyed. Brother’s
pre-pubescent relic on the counter: Castle
Greyskull capsized. Those humid nights

Bobby Cherry crept to the window late
hissing steam onto the pane: come out. come out.
We quivered on the dank step as black head
smoked and swore and spat and lied.

                                        Her 13th birthday came:
Spin the Bottle, Truth or Dare, Seven Minutes
in Heaven. Heaven, the closet under the stairs.
Heaven: opaque, inky, grubby outgrown ski
jacket shroud. The lure and the pallor…

An undulating, capitulating compass. Her dad’s Goodbye
Yellow Brick Road
. Till my eyes smarted. Don’t
pick me—my heart, an armadillo rolled. Friends’
still cherubim faces flushed with

                                        show me your dick head.
Lick the light switch. A form of semaphore.
Dusty rays pawed the parlour. The cloud hung
low in the valley of my lungs; fog blots out the
defining line between sky and shore.