“Naked Lady Playing Cards” by David Thornbrugh

David Thornbrugh


We’d find them in creek beds,
behind the school or in garages
open to alleys we’d walk along
smoking cigarettes, obscene,
torn, chewed by dogs
and covered with mud,
doors to Eden and a hot sword
melting the snow packing our groins,
hard currency of the 1950s
before video brought thrusting
into our cheekbones like doses
of demented palm candy,
naked lady playing cards
showing all the grim positions
of coupling photographed in bad lighting,
beer-bellied men with black socks on
mounting tired women whose faces
stared into the wallpaper
of too many dim hotel rooms,
naked lady playing cards
clipped to the body’s bicycle wheels
and spun to a blur of speculation,
garter belts thumping pale rumps
while seagulls perched on dirty
window ledges peering in snickering,
flat communion wafers of flesh
melting under our shoes
of wet asbestos, tungsten,
wet hair hanks ground to smears,
naked lady playing cards,
naked lady playing cards.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003

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