Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 1 , July 2015


At the Excalibur

Caitlin Maling

  He and I are meant to get married the next day.
  There’s a chapel in one of the turrets, 
  or we can do as the taxi driver suggests, 
  just drive down Flamingo and stop anywhere. 
  I’m trying to think of what the dancer on the party-pit stage 
  is thinking, but I can’t. He uses the break between hands 
  to say even you are a better dancer than that. 
  I know not to say to him, 
  that the fifty-year-old waitress 
  bringing us drinks in a midriff top and heels 
  makes me want to be outside 
  under a more manageable sky. 
  The dealers all have nametags listing their hometowns. 
  Really everyone says Las Vegas, 
  but the imparticular English suggests otherwise. 
  Seshat the new dealer is from Egypt. 
  You have a God’s name, I tell her. 
  She would prefer I tip. 
  Two chairs down a man repeats: 
  Is everyone as beautiful in Egypt as you? 
  I keep telling him that he looks like he’s from Perth. 
  Which he doesn’t understand. 
  I mean he looks like where we come from, or maybe 
  he is where I am from. 
  Five double G+Ts deep I tell him, 
  Excalibur was Arthur’s Sword. 
  Which he already knew. 
  I say: He died for love, too. 
  The dancer starts to move again 
  back and forth in front of us, 
  like how I’ve heard a horse does, 
  after you shoot her, before she knows she’s dead.