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Faceless Flattery

by Stevie Hinton

Men bribe me with wishes.

Men’s secrets are sketched out in crayons,
little monologues, fraudulent tales.
These maps of flattery lead to a window −
why won’t it lock?

I am made of knots.

You’re so sweet. He touches my hair.

I want to be with you, he says
from South Carolina
through text message…

I would have brought you flowers!
No comment.

You’re pretty.

Or even, after he resurfaced,
arm and arm with another pair of tits
I care about you a lot…

Palms up! I don’t want his face−
Waste of air, waste of ears,
The words fall stiff,
the speeches are sour
and his eyes never touch.

Cotton. Let’s stuff up my head!
Or get me a lobotomy.
Get me committed!
Get me out of Florida,
get me erased,
get me a couple drinks.
Get me another tissue
to sop up the ooze from his busted lip,
or get me a room so blackened, there is no air.

Get me?
I can’t stand another wish for those damn flowers.