Volume 27, Number 2


She has a schedule,
And this set
Must stretch long enough
To allow twenty-three dollars
To be stuffed securely into
The hammering part of her G-string.

At the far end of the runway,
A man who has shaved
His thinning hair, wears
His shirts open collared to say
Maybe he does not have
Two kids, and a wife that runs
Out of excuses two times a week,
Wishing she could sleep
Through his slow-running
Fantasies—that this wife could
Turn off her brain and just let
The hips vibrate on autopilot.

To prove his point, he has screwed
Up his courage to start
With sliding a five into the thin
Plank of the stripper’s decency-act required
Under-carriage inner-wear. He has
A plan to blow that five early,
Get her expectations focused,
Switch to ones
For the duration of the night.

She has to get down to him quickly;
Early enough that the cost of beer
Does not sink in and he does not drop
To plan B right away, with the whole crowd
Taking the example and going cheap;
Or even to the fetching trick
Of snaking half a paper dollar this pass,
The other half on her next pass, or any girl’s next,
Hovering at his station for the close-up;
Leaving her at two in the morning
Handing her husband far less damp
Cash than he had told her she needs to collect:
Then, just ahead in time, turning her face
Away from the fast-coming fist.

—Ken Poyner