Teasers Cabaret
by J. Todd Hawkins

the dawn, pill-bottle orange,
falls on the highway

its light lands on lost
glass and johnson grass

crumbling together
into blacktop parking lot

grasshoppers rattle
chitinous wings, skeleton castanets

heard just by the sheetmetal mudflap girl
in silhouette above the red door

inside, at a three-legged table
hunger wrestles off

its leather straps
it convulses in gagging witchtrial fashion

upon the floor, stage, the mirrored ceiling,
and about the pole—

from beneath the day's first drink—
from behind the cracks in her eyes,

the last dancer
writes her hope in beer sweat

and then looks up
into neon and ashtray morning,

looks up crazy-eyed
as if she has done something unforgivable

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