Landlady #3
by Tobi Cogswell

Jen rides a motorcycle and reads poetry.
She tucks her jeans down into her boots,
sucks on a straw from a bale of hay,
boxes twice a week at the
Aurora gym for women and drinks
shots every Friday night at the
Bucket and Faucet Bar.

She did go to bartending school
once, about a hundred years ago,
about a hundred gray hairs ago,
but she couldn’t be trusted -
men knew she was fun,
and more so as the night danced on.
She let everyone with a wallet
or a penchant to borrow buy her drinks,
or sometimes no one bought them.

Now she runs the house.
Carmen, Ginger, and
Nicky all call her mom.
She likes vanilla. And
dimmer switches. And
skin like shimmering
slices of silver. To be
invited here is to have
every wish answered, even
wishes unknown.

Boxing gloves hang on a nail
by the bar, don’t ever forget
she can lay out anyone
and will do it in a heartbeat,
her eyes never leaving the
silent path out the rigid door,
lips turned up in a
beauty queen smile.

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