Mall Haunts

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Rochelle Hurt’s poem, “Mall Haunts,” appears in the Michigan Quarterly Review’s Winter 2020 issue.

Mall Haunts

Dropped at the food court’s dead end, we spit
our gum-chewed brains on the pavement
and cultivate a hollow gaze. We make ourselves

dead ringers for Dum Dums with our sticky
grab-me legs and polished bauble heads.
Inside, we’re rotten as our mothers guess,

black hearts spongy with softcore decadence.
We gild our gory parts with peach and glitter,
but corpsey flesh peeks through in streaks

and lacquer chips. Men circle at the restrooms,
sniffing decay in our gloss-peeled lips.
Eager flies abound. Fauxblivious, we claw

shop racks and moan, shine-hungry lunatics
who proffer tongues like zombies, a possum play
to ward off predatory Heys. Sometimes all

we find is fear—but it makes a slimming bind
as lining, or a gorgeous drape, so we wear it
home and call ourselves drop-dead.