an old woman stretches
her back on the draw of blinds and pulls it,
opens her shop. the morning clambers in, leaps
on the dust like microscopic cowboys
holding lanterns on their horses. the silence
riding her ears
when it stops at a light)
is the hollering
and pinging spit of cattlemen, who haven’t see a woman
like her since the railroad. since the river? she passes
one hand for the other, dreams
of washing dusty chaps in wooden buckets
until blisters emerge on her fingers like saddles.
i could have FIVE men like these on one hand! she thinks, and when
no one comes in but the light, she waits
for the hand-painted cups on her shelf
to start breaking.
i have a box of ammunition behind the counter, she says. i can be
of some use to you.
never has there been a shop
of such miserly antiques, who seem to sit as heavy as they can
in their places. and never have i seen a room filled
like this one, with light, with the reckless
placement of fragile things so close to all the exits.
i see my reflection in the open mouth
of the vanity, the little bit of me worth anything
being consumed, being absorbed into the whiteness
of a model’s shining teeth. and Adrienne,
the girl my age
now dreaming of men her own size. she has a face
of freckles like footprints, a face that reminds me
of wandering around forever
in a room I don’t want to leave.
i can be of some use
Britt Luttrell is a 24-year-old male person from Austin, Texas. He leads wilderness hikes for preschoolers and fears that he will never resemble the talent of a toddler’s mind for story. Hold up, you put a bonnet on the elephant seal in your basement?! Really?! He writes anyway. His favorite words are about vulnerability, bad decisions, resurfacing. So is his favorite anything.