Her Pomeranian shot back and forth like
the white lines cut out on the coffee table
as she tucked bleached hair behind her ear
and snorted from the rolled-up bill.
She stripped at Blush, the same club
she said her father once frequented.
After gulping Vladamir and punch
from a plastic cup, she blurted,
Because of me, he doesn’t go there anymore.
I’m glad I took that away from him.
She had invited me from the bar
to her after-after-hours party,
promising coke and shrieking
how she loved gay men.
The straight guys sat at her
kitchen table playing poker
as she handed me the bill roll
saying, You’re a good listener.
I remembered how lonesome
she seemed beside me
when months later I heard
her landlord found her hanging.
JOHN FANTIN is a poet, memoirist, and English professor at Carlow University and Community College of Allegheny County. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. His memoir-in-progress, The Accordion Files, explores his northern Italian heritage, and his identity as a gay, first-generation Italian-American.
Featured image: Egon Schiele, “Crouching Nude in Shoes and Black Stockings, Back View,” watercolor, 1912, Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.