Maybe my city is a jaguar

Inside the New Vegetarian restaurant there are New Vegetarians
congregating to sing the praises of five different kinds of pumpkin
or cherry pinot noir that tastes – mmmmm yes -while out by the alley

a banjo troupe from Baton Rouge makes the blues, one girl on a washboard
fingers like jaguars. Another squats, firm hands on the bowstring, plays
the water trough upturned like a lover. Her legs encircle that galvanized metal,

leaning hard against the brick of the New Vegetarian. She twangs and whoops
and mmmmm yes mixes with the winebreath from the crowd as The Jaguars play
faster now as spiced faces loiter, sway and sour under the platinum sky and

one woman, stringy grey hair, gathers up her fringed skirt, she skitters a jig,
with halter top slipping revealing gleaming that cascade of white, flesh
(and her hips like your mother’s). Some call her a cat. The band keeps playing.

You watch as the street, with its dingy look, gnaws on itself in the darkness.
And still, the woman, muttering "jaguar," and meaning the sensation
of a mouth cracking marrow or that near-suffocation.

Sierra Eckert is studying English literature and creative writing at Swarthmore College. Her poems have appeared in The Night Café and Small Craft Warnings. She has had three plays produced, and her original play, Dust of Babylon, was performed in the Washington DC Capital Fringe Festival July 2009.

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