by Suzanne Hancock

Or if we met in Vegas.
In front of the volcano at the Mirage.
Early-evening, your head a little red from a day in the desert sun,
my cheeks the same. You’re wearing your white shirt
and jeans, both wrinkled from the suitcase, a thin wet crescent
beneath both arms, my own black dress damp from the heat.
I feel itchy and homesick, and I move closer, but, still, the full
splendor of you is hidden by Midwesterners in jerseys and cameras.

Maybe later the real beginning is a shared humiliation
in finding the volcano’s drawn-out explosion
beautiful—those 3000 lights simulating lava flow.
We’d toast to that.

Or we run into each other in the elevator
we share with the funny drunk bride in her beaded
dress and bucket of tokens, and you’re going to get a bag of salt and vinegar chips
from the vending machine, and I’m fooling myself into thinking
tonight is the night to learn craps. “Bet with the house,
my dad always says, “even if it makes you unpopular.”

You follow me and peel a fifty from your roll and tell me to go crazy.
“Anything above the fifty, you can keep,” you say with a smile.
We fall in love the moment after you lift my arm, declaring, “You’re the champ!”
while the rest of the players around the table give us the wood eye. We walk
and I whisper, “Let me buy you a drink every day for the rest of our lives.”

Or we’re in line for a show (hopefully Nearly Neil,
the Neil Diamond impersonator) and you say,
“I’m going to fuck the Christ out of you,” and I think,
excitedly, what does that mean? Does he think I’m
Christian? What is it about Neil that makes him so friendly?
The view from your room is Egypt, Hollywood, Pirates—
a synthetic warmth that makes me dizzy and hungry.
Go back downstairs for those potato chips
while I take off my lucky boots, my lucky socks and dress,
come back while I’m saying yes, yes, yes,
draw the curtains and,
for a while at least,
unplug all those landlocked lights.


We swim at the same Y in Chinatown. When she found out I didn't have goggles, she left me a spare pair at the front desk. "Yes," she says, "swimming is good. Do it, do it, do it!!"

Suzanne Hancock has been published in a variety of journals, including Prairie Fire, Arc and Geist. Her collection, Another Name for Bridge, was published by Mansfield Press in 2005. Her most recent work, Cast from Bells, out of McGill Queen's University Press, is slated for release in April 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment