Vacancy

Vacancy

By Christopher Grillo

It’s March and Charlene is 16 years old,
with a child’s face and a woman’s breasts.

She looks to me, her honey eyes stricken
with worry; wide as if pinned opened by their lids,

pupils bold and glazed over from the weed.
I hand the motel clerk a fake I.D and can sense

he knows I’ve never been to Eerie.
Sweat drips from the creases of mine

and Charlene’s sealed palms and my knuckles
rub as she squeezes tighter.

I crack a bad joke, a slurred quip about the weather
wondering if we seem a young married couple.

In the room we drink jug wine, neutralize the refer.
Charlene has calmed and I have vitalized.

She undresses slow to the buzz of faulty breakers,
her silhouette shimmying tight jeans down to ankles,
cast in the light of fluorescent “No”

– refers from “silhouette” in the story Inscription by Nicolette Wong

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