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It's a beautiful day: sunny, crisp, cloudless. I'm walking down the boulevard in the middle of my life, just a tiny fist of apprehension in the center of the chest as I catch a glimpse of myself in a store window, reminding me I'm out looking for an eight millimeter to tape myself dancing because someone said I'm too stiff in the middle though I figure I'm OK for a white guy. So I find a camera shop: the owner is doing his best to fix me up but I don't see anything I like til his sister appears in a short red dress, displaying an expanse of gorgeous thigh. She shows me the latest thing. "Consumers' gives it a ninety-two," she says, thrusting a hip at me. "You're at least a ninety-two," I say with a dry mouth, "Maybe a hundred, but you must have a flaw somewhere." Her lips are very red and wet." If you start licking," she says, "Maybe you'll find it." "Sorry," I say shortly, "But I've got a previous engagement."

And I do. Outside, under that brilliant sky, I'm on the ground with the store detective's thirty-eight against my ear. "Shoot!" somebody hollers. He cocks and squeezes six times. Watching me shake uncontrollably, he laughs. "You deserve this," she says, standing right above me, legs apart. My eyes trace the curve Of her thigh til it disappears in the darkness. A voice whispers "Maybe if you were taller you'd get more." I think: that's it. First thing tomorrow, cowboy boots.

William Kulik's translations of poems by Jacob, Desnos, Tzara, Laforgue, and Frenaud have previously appeared in APR. A collection of his own work, Night and Day: Poems in Verse and Prose, is looking for a publisher.
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Author:Kulik, Michael
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jul 1, 1997
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