Map to the Stars
A Schwinn-ride away: Eagledale Plaza. Busted shopping
strip of old walkways, crooked parking spaces nicked
like the lines on the sides of somebody’s mom-barbered
head. Anchored by the Piccadilly Disco, where a shootout
was guaranteed every weekend, coughing stars shot from
sideways guns shiny enough to light the way for anyone
willing to keep a head up long enough to see. Not me.
I bought the Star Map Shirt for 15¢ at the Value Village
next to the Piccadilly. The shirt was polyester with flyaway
collars, outlined in the forgotten astronomies of disco.
The shirt’s washed-out points of light: arranged in horse
& hero shapes & I rocked it in places neither horse nor hero
hung out. Polyester is made from Polyethylene & catches
fire easily like wings near a thrift store sun. Polyethylene,
used in shampoo bottles, gun cases, & those grocery sacks
skidding like upended stars across the parking lot. There
are more kinds of stars in this universe than salt granules
on drive-thru fries. Too many stars, lessening & swelling
with each pedal pump away from the Value Village
as the electric billboard above spotlights first one DUI
attorney, then another who speaks Spanish so the sky
is constantly chattering, like the biggest disco ball ever.
From Map to the Stars (Penguin Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Adrian Matejka. Used with the permission of the author.