April 23, 2014

Tina Barry

Mall Flower

I’ve blown out my shag haircut
and it’s big.
BIG-big. Cool

With the mirrored halter-top
and jeans chopped into shorts.
I’m psyched for the mall

And its food court, where I strut
the aisles on swizzle
stick legs
past Jahn’s green whipped cream,
past Beefsteak Charlies,
past the crepes at Magic Pan,
past the Nut Shoppe’s chocolate

To buy cigarettes at Mr. Pipe
where Scott wears an afro
and a star of David,
ties a red bandana
to the loop of white overalls,
asks me to meet him
behind Cinnabon
where I wait, back pressed
against cinderblocks,
face tilted to the sun,
knowing, as I suck smoke
in deep, that I’m a fox.
A  total  fucking   fox.

Continuing Ed.

Joan arranges neat rows of pastels
Susan and Sally squeeze whirls
of cobalt and saffron
Eugene steadies a sketchpad on his easel
Ashley, the new model, arrives
Luca, the instructor, says, “Ashley is awesome”
All the models --Madison and Addison
Shaniqua and Samantha
Taylor, Tyler, Chelsea and Chantal--
 are “awesome”

Eugene stares at Ashley
Robert stares at Ashley
Pat, Pam and Peggy stare at Ashley --
reclined, an odalisque on a velvet love seat,
her haircut-- shaved on the sides,
long on top--
is nothing new
The students yawn at studded tongues
tattoos of squirrels, skulls and snakes
a nipple ring is one more piece of jewelry

What Joan and Joyce
Susan and Sally
Robert, Eugene, Pat and Pam
haven’t seen is a model so bare
Ashley, it seems, has no pubic hair

Robert and Randal recall daughters
as children and look away
Pat, the minimalist, draws a “v”
anchors it with a vertical line

Peggy moves her easel
to the back corner of the room
reaches her hand
inside the elastic of her slacks
and rests it--
not in a sexual way
she’s past that--
but to feel the spring of hair
beneath cotton underpants
black, verdant and untamed


It begins with
the older girls’ voices,
meant to cower
then your cries
tinny   floating

Your hands
small knobs of ivory
untouched by history
the girls a dark helix
above as you
climb the hill
settle on the thread-bare
hammock of the swing’s
seat, chains chilled against

fingers. The girls run
hooting  stumbling
to the street
in love with leaving you
just as your

toe nudges a cloud
and you scream, one
shot of pure elastic pleasure


Tina Barry’s poems and short stories have appeared in Elimae, Lost in Thought Magazine, The Orange Room Review, and Exposure, an Anthology of Microfiction, among other online and print publications. When she’s not writing, she’s planning 10-course French dinners that will never be served.

1 comment:

Cezarija Abartis said...

"Mall Flower"--I love the ending--her confidence and panache!

Continuing Ed.--the names are perfect, and the uncomfortableness and wildness.

shot of pure elastic pleasure"
So beautiful!