There once was a baby born in a shoe, wedge, open toe open heel, Florida
balmy breezes, monsoons, then a single wide white trashed trailer, inauspicious
plastic laundry basket her manger in that backwater Bethlehem.
She grew out of place fast, had the twins, bought a rip-off Gucci bag
in Times Square, raised her kids in its deep pockets, leather and fringe,
no bondage buckles, ‘til they were grown and unemployable. They slept days,
trolled the nasty nights, kept their St. Christopher medals, she’d given, hidden.
She couldn’t find her post trauma Viet vet in the dark in the handbag,
but she threw him a PBJ every day. He left no crumbs. She’d had a baker’s
dozen boyfriends—leather, jeans, cigarette-burned tweeds. Done,
she got her testosterone fix from football nation and the bottom drawer,
but when Mr. Goodwrench got his gadget up her what’s it, she tossed
that rotating spinning vibrating chrome-plate piece of unholy.
She began blond, then blond on blond became a gray-root halo.
Something about her…They come to the diner because they want
to be near her, slinging hash, waitressing—old men “Hel-lo, Mr. Universe,”
women “Sunday got ya sweetie? Have biscuits. Two buck miracles.”
She brings home tips, puts them in the coin purse, curls up
around it, sleeps in heavenly peace (repeat) sleeps in heavenly peace.
She dreams—She’s on an empty city street, she knows if she waits long enough
the circus will come to town, and it does, clowns tumble out, and one clown
helps her find the joke, and she dies laughing,
and she speeds Wherever, in a big white truck like Daddy did—windshield
swipes, hound, chains, painted flames—wearing this cute black T, “Live fast
die pretty,” Garden of Eden tattooed on her inner thigh, no serpent this time
only apples amen.
Elizabeth Robinson is a retired elementary school teacher who lives in Phoenix, Oregon. “Savior Gal” is one of her two poems in ZYZZYVA’s Fall issue.