Sunday, August 28, 2011

A weighty subject

Pick A Prize

by Jill Breckenridge

August, hot with flies, wasps
fallen sluggish to the sugar.
The State Fair, everyone eating
something or looking to be fed:
Pronto pups, chili dogs, popcorn,
cold milk, all you can drink,
Central Lutheran's homemade pie.
The woman who guesses weight,
wearing money apron and brown oxfords,
stands beside scales taller
than the big man who steps forward.
For only one pa-per dollar!
she reads his body, poundwise,
says, Two-sixty! He steps on
her scales at two-eighty-five.
She pats his backside under his belt
which is under a generous roll
of fat, says, You musta' been hidin'
somethin' there on me, honey!
Pick a prize, any prize.
He touches
his thinning hair, chooses
the battered red and white beer hat
from among her ashtrays and embarrassed
lavender snakes, then walks away,
through the dusty music of calliope,
taller, twenty-five pounds lighter.

"Pick A Prize" by Jill Breckenridge, from The Gravity of Flesh. © Nodin Press