A plague of crickets or an endless game of Yahtzee. Neon rainstorms and rat-pack martinis. Tin-foil hats and moon landings. She knows the game: you pays your money and you takes your choice. Enchiladas at Binion’s or veal Marsala at the Sands, a trapeze act overhead or Elvis at the wedding chapel, find the way to San Jose or just walk on by. The sun blooms like a nuclear blast. Someone draws up a plan for Paris. When the old hotels implode, such elegant debris, so many skeletons and shot glasses. The concrete billowing and glittering. For years a sky full of Liberace. For years a cart of dim sum rolling past. She sits beside the dancing fountain and says: it’s all a ghost town now. Heat shimmers as the Eiffel Tower leans in. She finds lobsters in a faux waterfall, in aquamarine pools of vodka, huddled on linen tablecloths waving feelers. Could anything be more alien to this world? She selects a queen from New Zealand and wonders about Trini Lopez, thinks about Caliban with his Sony Trinitron, feels exiled and washed up, like Paul Anka in a mezzanine lounge bar, singing to the drunks. She says Hunter Thompson was right, pulls meat out of the claw and dunks it in butter, flicks the brilliant shell with a fingernail, listens to it ring.
Patti White is the author of three collections of poems, Tackle Box (2002), Yellow Jackets (2007), and Chain Link Fence (2013), all from Anhinga Press. Her work has appeared in journals including Iowa Review, North American Review, River Styx, Nimrod, DIAGRAM, Forklift Ohio, and New Madrid. She teaches creative writing at the University of Alabama, and was co-founder of Slash Pine Press.