Three Poems


Here’s the peach bathroom
that gave her new ways
to look taller—

++++++Thin desperado, speaking
++++++blonde code to the business. 

Here’s the last shower, hot
steaming weakness, collapse
on the pearl travertine—

charm in her eyes
turned feral++++++++++ the dripping

++++++of stalking
+++++++++++++++++++++++++her own++++++ black star



++++++May 1, 1947: Evelyn McHale jumped to her
++++++death from the Empire State Building

I am too much like my mother. I will
not marry in June. On this dazzling day,
I choose to jump in white gloves.

Last deep breath, strong leap of my legs.

That novice photographer sold me to Life.
He’ll never publish again!

You can gawk at the arch of my brow.

Note my dark lips, coral suit loose
at the waist. Dainty, except for a
wind-blown shoe.

I wanted this crash more than jewels and
punch. I found my whole peace, and gave
all of you beautiful proof.



Never enrolled in community college, splicing
++++++commas with risk

Nor workshopped with lemongrass refugees
++++++bleating a tropical syntax

Nor failed to wink at legacies, whipping
++++++the can-can skirt of convention—

flaunting her savvy, flashing rare opals
++++++and rubies, beaming an orchid light

as spinster poems skulk in a boxy shape
++++++of splintering unlit trim—

This poem has rattle and thrum. Watch her spark
++++++and pierce the sphinx’s paw

guarding pink turrets of fantasy. She dribbles
++++++the castles of brown sugar sand

in the bam-bam ching of bikini string samba,
++++++the bang of her iambic boom.

Laurie BartonLaurie Barton is a Best of the Net finalist and winner of the New Southerner Literary Prize in Poetry. Her work has appeared in Juked, Glass, Word Riot, Jabberwock Review, and The Missing Slate. She studied French at Mills College before completing an MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles. There she was gently told that her shy little stanzas were not poetry. With time and encouragement, she learned that the beauty of language would not let her down. Beauty, surprises, and mystery. Laurie lives in southern California and welcomes correspondence on Facebook.