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