1017 River Road

Standing in the doorway in an I-don't-know dress, hoping 
she'll know before the cigarette tax goes up or the river 
spits back her pink patent-leathers with the bows. 

In an I-don't-know dress, going down on a Tom Collins, 
drowning balls with pool cues. The missed shots kiss 
the rim, her fingertips, the man in the corner with braids 

going down on a Tom Collins. Off-limits, but the door 
is open, the tongue is out but the teeth are hidden 
behind the curtains. Yellow--if you want to take a look. 

Off-limits, but the door has a window; they all do, 
like a shirt with holes in all the right places 
or a nickel machine to show you what 

they all do, when they're not here. She's afraid 
they'll hang her upside-down like a wine glass, see through 
to the warped cars in the parking lot and see 

she's afraid. There's only one thing left to do 
when a lipstick sits on a high stool tapping 
her nails like she knows in her short, I-don't-know dress.


Poem Copyright 2001, Shari Diane Willadson Rain Forest Image Copyright 2000, Sharon Carter 
(first appeared in Literary Salt Issue I)

Shari Diane Willadson is a writer and photographer living in Washington State with her husband. She enjoys baking and growing bonsai in her spare time. 

1017 River Road is in an invented form, the Terza Rondele.

Sharon Carter obtained her medical degree from Cambridge University and immigrated in 1979.  Her poems have been published in many presses including Pontoon and King County Metro's Art On The Buses. Publications including her art are: Spindrift, Raven Chronicles, Chiyo's Corner, Disquieting Muses and the Permanente Journal. She has been awarded a Hedgebrook residency and is currently on the editorial board of Literary Salt.
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