Lost in the Mall

I came into the main entrance by Pete’s Café. It is a notch up from McDonald’s,
& more snazzy than Applebee’s, as it’s trimmed not with the classic
condiment red & yellow, but a savvy tan & blue resin gleaming like a small sailboat.
I make a mental note to try the Cajun Salad when I come back.

Into the mall I’m swept up by its Babilonas layout which is like an inside
out slinky & stutter to a stop by a women’s clothing shop. One of the
sales force asks me if I’m lost. Yes. I’m looking for a crisp black cotton
button down for work, but I’m entranced by the Halloween costumes.
I buy a pirate hat, a black tricorn with a red feather. Then I ask where Pete’s is.

They send me back down a loop I swore I just passed. But I find may way
back where I started, & I’m in the line at Pete’s, jazzed by the tan
& blue décor. A gentleman in sweats sits on a nearby bench, one of those faux
river-rock-from plastic designs. He leans in my direction.
He is inebriated. He looks at my feet. “Love your chucks, darlin,” he burps.
“Will you marry me?” “Thanks for asking,” I say, “But I can’t.”

“Why not?” he demands, listing in the other direction, like he’s already
on the boat. “I’m a pirate,” I say. I put the hat on. He stares at me.
“Guess not,” he says. I pay the cashier & go through the line, I get a Cajun
Salad & three chocolate puddings. I take one of the chocolates to go
& set it next to the drunk guy who sits snoring, head back. He can’t help it
if he’s a sucker for pirates.

Lynn Finger’s poetry has appeared in Night Music Journal, Ekphrastic Review, MineralLitMag, Feral, 8Poems, Perhappened, and is forthcoming in Drunk Monkeys. Lynn is an editor at Harpy Hybrid Review and works with a group that mentors writers in prison.

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