Quartet by Alan Catlin

“’Way I see it,” she said, glass in one hand,
lit cigarette in the other, ”’girls are tied to beds
for two reasons, sex and exorcisms.  So which
was it for you?’”  Emma Jane Unsworth, Animals

After leaving Mr. Mackenzie, she sits
at open air café table under unfurled
beach umbrella that says CINZANO,
sipping sweet vermouth one day, dry
vermouth the next.  Is paralyzed by
the heat, her poverty, a complete lack of
will. Sits smoking Gauloises as far
down as they will go without burning
her nicotine stained fingers; wanting
nothing, needing everything, the two
cancelling each other out.  The day waiters
mostly ignore the woman in fading
sundresses who only moves to recede
further into shadows on blue note
afternoons, slowly fading to dusk,
as if she were the lone passenger
with a one way ticket for a tramp
steamer voyage in the dark across a
wide Sargasso Sea.

Alan Catlin
Alan Catlin is the poetry editor of misfitmagazine.net. His latest books of poetry are American Odyssey from Future Cycle and Last Man Standing from Lummox Press
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