A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2008, vol 4 no 3

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Andrew Riutta

Thursday Night

At the strip club, even the waitress pretends she likes me.
She sits down. Both of us light a cigarette.
"What's your name?"
I lie and tell her Philip.
I know my money's worth more than it was last month.
She crosses her legs and leans back.
"Oh," she says.
Her black outfit blends in seamlessly with the darkness.
She looks around and then asks me what I like to do.
"Actually, I enjoy poetry."
A dancer named Autumn hangs in the spotlight, leaving smudge marks up and down the brass pole.
The music pounds through whatever gets in its way.
The waitress pulls out a package of Wrigley's gum.
"Want some?" she asks.
"No thanks. It'll make my Camel taste like a Kool."
"What, you're too cool for Kools?" she says.
The song ends and Autumn gathers her half dozen bills.
"Something like that," I say.
Then a new dancer. A new song. A new view of the world.
The waitress twists her hair around her middle finger.
"I write poetry, too," she says. "At least I used to."
"Oh," I say.

2 a.m.
a moth the size
of a small bird
the eyes on its wings
staring at me

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