Summer 1990 • Vol. XII No. 3 PoetryJuly 1, 1990 |

How?

The fat lady behind the counter at the gas station wore a button-pin that said, "I've lost 15 lbs. Ask me how!" That was answered by the vision of her daughter bent over a book in the corner, like a Vermeer, only she was being punished, like a Vermeer in reverse. Then it struck me how that girl, quietly displayed there, was like her mother's button and I wanted to ask her how. But her mother snapped a few bills into my extended hand, saying, "Have a nice day," meaning, "Mind your own business." I guess I half expected the daughter to flash me a desperate look, like in the movies where the mirror in the ladies' room is scrawled in blood, "I've lost 15 lbs. Ask me how!" But she never gave the slightest signal. And as I pounded the car across the compressor hose, I knew that in the movie I would've leapt from the swerving car and crashed headfirst through the complacency of their plate glass window where they pretended to be the perfect picture of the average alienated

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Stare

By Charlie Smith

The fat lady behind the counter at the gas station wore a button-pin that said, "I've lost 15 lbs. Ask me how!" That was answered by the vision of her […]

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