SHOAL

 

It starts with the hemistich hitch in her step.

A henchwoman’s tell, regret stopping up the gait

 

with sediment. This moon’s stepdaughter can’t keep

swindling tarot cards and sneaking roofies

 

into her own whiskey-gingers, back tattooed

with bedsheet creases from sleeping till noon.

 

But she hates hesitation the most. Bring it back or don’t:

the bar’s blurry disciples, whispered skirmish

 

of kisses, the fingertips brushing the strings

secret as any affair. This mystery has outstripped

 

a thousand others: that she will still prostrate

herself for muchness. She will shove aside

 

her heretic intuition and angle into the swivel-hipped

wind, shrug her shoulder through the neck

 

of her sloppy blue dress, a shoal emerged

from the ocean, heart bare no matter the tide.

 

Elizabeth Vignali has had poems in various publications, including Willow Springs, Cincinnati Review, Tinderbox, Natural Bridge, and Nimrod. Her chapbook, Object Permanence, is available from Finishing Line Press.

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