This story is paired with Chapter IX of Bulfinch’s Mythology. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free.
dog-ears a second-hand
copy of Stranger in a Strange
Land, remembers ten years ago,
when she slid into silk chemise,
letting it wrap around her skin
like a studied dream of time travel.
Her songs blasted through torn speakers.
Eyes turned up in supplication,
and she started to sway, as slow
as star death, holding each captured gaze
hostage on an alien world.
She would strut for them, peel off her
long gloves, her Lycra gown, broadcast
her thoughts like a telepath so
everyone knew, if the world were
without envy, she would stay the night,
unfolding spiral galaxies
before their eyes.
Now her bass line
is pneumatic blades cutting cardstock,
laminate, which she stacks into
cardboard boxes. She works through lunch—
pausing only to bandage cuts—
all to make a paltry piecemeal
bonus and keep her rent current.
Each night, her hands and wrists sting, ache
as if she had spent the day chained
to ocean rock. Some nights she gives
herself to television’s sea.
Some nights, she stretches across the bent
springs of her tweed sofa, becomes
her own Perseus, remembers
the trick to watching yourself
as if from afar, from another
planet, circling another star
in another galaxy, where Earth,
everyone, is but the wobble
in a dim light, a shoulder, wing.
Les Kay holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. His chapbook, The Bureau, was published by Sundress Publications, and his poetry has appeared in Southern Humanities Review, RomComPom, Apt, Sugar House Review, The White Review, The Boiler Journal, and elsewhere.