Cyan James


Her hair smells of burnt mangos: strong,
She hefts her pistol again and again.
Why won't it work? she asks the shop
keeper, again and again. He looks her
up and down, he sees:

wild hair
jeans slick as sweat to her legs
lips the same feral as her fingernails
waist small, soft as bagel
cold, cold skin without its own smell

so he says, You need something smaller
so you can hide it

What? she says, I ain't carryin' no holster
He tells her if her clothes weren't so tight,
she'd be able to slip it in her belt band

No such luck, she says, she needs things this tight
(for what she does, she whispers) And now her arms tense,
now she picks up something big and black, aims it at the bull's
eye, pricks in staccato bullets at the paper, her wide-angled
legs defiant. I want, she says, I want what works
(she never looks side to side)

Cyan James was born in Lancaster, California, and grew up in Washington state. She has had work accepted in The Barcelona Review and Beloit Poetry Journal. Currently she is an MFA student at the University of Michigan.

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