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  • Gary Bolick

A Venus Lives Just East of Reno

cacklin’ ezzie is made of earth and cotton

manure and plastic roses

she grows light: a garden of frying pans

warped, brillo-worn and grainy . . . an acre of flat-faced, pock-marked

sentries planted to catch and simmer the sunset’s

oily shavings . . .

a sight and scent that draws

the eyes and ears of every mon (or is it man?) grel

within miles:

t-shirted, bay-windowed, packed and clustered in truck, jeep and


flying across the desert, ignoring the hunter’s horn,

tick infested and gritty,

heavy with fart and tobacco laced howls of desire

and wonder . . . a little fear (sign of a good dog)

gathering, pointing, scratching, waiting and grooming,

east of some familiar place each wants

to forget as they

spit and rhapsodize about tail and bush

until the dying sun is celebrated

with another twelve pack of

beer bottles exploding . . .

east of the city, away in the desert where

only a

“perfect crazy like -this one- could thrive.”

ezzie laughs on

torching her windows:

candles caged in blown out T.V.picture tubes:

the thin, yellow-gray petals of light

restless with fetal-like distortion,

massaging the spreading twilight

turning each rectangle

into a fox’s ruse:

a dangling pendant to seize and hold

the mongrels’ collective stare

transfixed and panting

the slide and pop of each eyelid

the extended tongues become more

question than

answer to,

“who or what had to die to make her like this?”

ezzie laughs on

four a. m.: the only hour capable of


her desire,

ezzie rises and climbs up onto her rooftop

where in olive oil and early morning alabaster

she bathes,

the sweep and flutter of her hand luring out

the silence and the wonder of

the star-infested black above and below

as each eye sparkles . . . . watching . . .

her iridescent body


the mongrels howl and

bark until the last of the moonlight

delivers a glimpse of a desert goddess

born of the whispers and desires men dream to

know since they were little boys

staring into the bedroom window

images that always tease more than

deliver . . . then . . .

fade (always too quickly)

and (suddenly)

the mystery

disappears . . . so they continue to

loiter and howl

until the last

red taillight

of each,

truck, jeep and


recedes into

to the first

stirring of light . . .

of a (dreaded) new day

none want to face

and ezzie?

she sings (then)

chants (and) smiles into the


as the moon

obediently bows


kissing the

desert floor



the sight of it moving

ezzie to

sigh, then


until the fading light

returns and a venus

rises up

once more

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