I Wait for Your Text at the Bar Around the Corner
She’s used to the dash & the bitters, to the mouths who want it dry
or dirty. She’s become a master at the shake & strain,
blends it or gives it a twist on command. I sit on my stool and watch.
She leans over, fills a glass held by a wink mixed with a smirk. Her eye contact --
unbroken, bold — double dog dares him to ogle. He declines, finds the wood burl
of the counter suddenly fascinating. I stir my Bloody Mary, check my phone.
I imagine her as a child like you, cherry blossom arms spread wide,
eyes zeroed in, learning to spot. A wild wisp of a girl
constrained in leotard & ballet slippers, absorbing the lesson.
Let your arms and legs breathe / use broad sweeping strokes. --
Hold your focus steady / eat up all the space you can. —
The incantation would weave itself through the centre of your belly,
through each extended limb, each tip of your tiny fingers, up & out,
through the crown of your head until you turned without becoming dizzy — spinning
& spinning like a lid twisting off a jar.
Perhaps you and she would’ve been rivals, vying to possess the breadth
of the stage. Perhaps you’d have relinquished your spot, her need
superseding your own.
I order another drink. Wonder if you left him as planned. Check my phone.
Kari Ann Ebert
This poem was the Winner of the Crossroads Ekphrastic Writing Contest, 2019.
Kari Ann Ebert is the Poetry & Interview editor for The Broadkill Review and the Project Director of Downtown Dover Poetry Weekend. Winner of the 2020 Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry, the 2019 Crossroads Ekphrastic Writing Contest, and 2018 Gigantic Sequins Poetry Contest, Kari’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Mojave River Review, Philadelphia Stories, Main Street Rag, The Ekphrastic Review, and Gargoyle as well as several anthologies. She has been awarded fellowships from Delaware Division of the Arts (2020), The Shipman Agency (2020), BOAAT Press (2020), and Brooklyn Poets (2019).
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