2 poker tables, folded.
Left in the rain.
Ray's Inn needed a new waitress.
I've never been to a strip joint.
But I've seen the girls, white
legs crossed, red marks on pale
skin. I've seen them.
Out in the rain?
Water fucks with felt.
I've never even played poker.
She walked into the deli
in sweatpants, waistline curled
below her ass crack
(those were my sister's words).
I stopped on the side of 206.
Flicked on my hazards.
The road was empty.
The bar was empty.
I was sure.
I got out.
I've never known a stripper.
At least not while they were a stripper.
I knew a girl before she become one, though.
______. Sat behind her in World Civ
(academic, not honors; they wouldn't let me in).
Black hair. Scratched the back of her neck.
Uneven nail polish (also black). Smart
as shit. So smart the teacher
stopped a lecture and said it:
you're smart, you know that?
What the fuck would I do with a poker table?
Lots of things.
Some strippers must keep their real names.
The felt smelled like dog.
I'd turned off the headlights
though someone's high beams
could brighten my license plate.
And then they'd call my mother
and say would you believe we saw Paul
outside the Satin Saddle? And it wasn't even open.
If she was so smart then why'd she become a stripper?
Billy Paul. Bad Company. Cream.
Deep Purple. Chico Magnetic Band.
All heard through the bar's windows,
through my pickup's windows.
If I was so smart then why didn't they let me in honors?
Halfway back to my house
I dumped the tables on the shoulder of the road.
People would ask: where'd you get those tables?
We didn't even know you played poker.
I don't, actually. They're for decoration.
Look at that nice felt.
Nice felt? It's mottled.
I guess it is.
And imagine if a guy came over who'd been to that strip joint. Who'd seen______
shake whatever she shook. Who pulled his palm along the felt and said man,
I recognize this shit.
I've never been to a strip joint but somebody I know must have been.