stilettos in a rifle range

She and she

said switch

so swish

                                       he did, having misheard,    

                                       heard, he slid into a pair

                                       of, slipped into an, open-

back heels and dress,

they, following suit,

she, his jacket, shirt,

                                      she, his pants, wingtips,

                                      tearing down the set

                                      pieces, flipped the dinner

party, a three-ring

au pair a trois

staging the blank glint

                                      mute smirk,

                                      wine glasses

                                      half raised, lowered

to half-staff,

flagging something

in the airs,

                                    chi chi noses

                                    wrinkled with

                                    the stiff whiff

of a flat mistake

aquiline for Roman


                                    defanged the gang:

                                    “It was all a gag,”

                                    they cried, laughed.

Related Poems

At a Dinner Party

With fruit and flowers the board is decked,
    The wine and laughter flow;
I'll not complain—could one expect
    So dull a world to know?

You look across the fruit and flowers,
    My glance your glances find.—
It is our secret, only ours,
    Since all the world is blind.

Boy in a Stolen Evening Gown

In this field of thistle, I am the improbable
lady. How I wear the word: sequined weight
snagging my saunter into overgrown grass, blonde
split-end blades. I waltz in an acre of bad wigs.

Sir who is no one, sir who is yet to come, I need you
to undo this zipped back, trace the chiffon
body I’ve borrowed. See how I switch my hips

for you, dry grass cracking under my pretend
high heels? Call me and I’m at your side,
one wildflower behind my ear. Ask me
and I’ll slip out of this softness, the dress

a black cloud at my feet. I could be the boy
wearing nothing, a negligee of gnats.

At the Padre Hotel in Bakersfield, California

It’s Saturday night and all the heterosexuals
in smart little dresses and sport coats
are streaming into what we didn’t know
was the hottest spot between Las Vegas and L.A.
Janet and I are in jeans and fleece—not a tube of lipstick
or mascara wand between us. Grayheads:
a species easy to identify without a guidebook—
the over-the-hill lesbian couples of the Pacific Northwest.
Janet’s carrying our red-and-white cooler with snacks for the road
across the marble tiles of the Art Deco lobby
when we turn and see the couple
entering through the tall glass doors, slicing
through the crowd like a whetted blade. The butch
is ordinary enough, a stocky white woman
in tailored shirt and slacks, but the confection—
no, the pièce de résistance—whose hand she holds
is of another genus entirely.
Her cinnamon sheen, her gold dress
zipped tighter than the skin of a snake.
And her deep décolletage, exposed enough for open-heart surgery.
She’s a yacht in a sea of rowboats.
An Italian fountain by Bernini.
She’s the Statue of Liberty. The Hubble Telescope
that lets us gaze into the birth of galaxies.
Oh, may they set that hotel room ablaze—here
in this drab land of agribusiness and oil refineries
outdoing Pittsburgh as the top polluted city in the nation—trash it
like rock stars, rip up the 300 thread-count sheets,
free the feathers from the pillows.
And may that grande femme be consumed
right down to the glitter on her sling-back four-inch stilettos
and whatever she’s glued on her magnificent skin
to keep the plunge of that neckline from careening clear off the curve.