she rode in and brought the whole desert with her,
lips chapped, a hiccup of dorsal on the bridge of her nose,
Norma Jean on wheels. perhaps embarrassed, she realizes
she’s not in Kansas anymore, reaches for a Nutter Butter
as Riedells squeak in thirst. the clerk retrieves my cigarettes,
grunts to hail the Tulsa Queen as she sails toward the slurpees.
another inlined lady follows her, set in profile, dust creeping into
enamel below the gum. between the gaggle, there is talk of a
low tank, lottery tickets (in this recession?), clickity-clacking tile.
clerk licks his teeth, fiddles toothpick. under the cover of a baseball
cap, pink matter reaching toward pretty meats dressed in fishnets like
netted ham, only managing “darlin’” when they retrieve their receipt.
he’s left with his counter, Budweiser breath gone stale in Mohave
exhaust, and Artemis and her disciple float out the sliding doors with
all the other maidens and apparitions evaporating in this drought.
Hanna Andrews is a student and writer based in Southern California. She is a staff editor for Inkblot Literary Magazine and enjoys cherry cough drops and long walks on the beach.