Outlet Mall

Come here when the sea-fog rolls to the door
and the sky’s gray bed sheet slips down over
the terrace view. Take the bridge over Skull
Creek and Pinkney Island’s prickly oyster sill
to the mainland and this place where white-haired men
with stiff knees walk in jogging suits next to women
who tirelessly seek a marked-down crystal flute
from Ireland or Dan River sheets like the marsh at
sunset, reduced to a few fuchsia rays that almost
bring color to your eyes. Try on the hooded coat
with toggles that don’t quite interlock, because
in her last hour on the line, the worn Chinese
woman making it was thinking of her feverish child.
These brands have laces too long, one instep twisted
out of stride, a seam that runs down the world spine
suited to curvatures of the calcium poor, a jagged line
of straight pins to stab vanity.

John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
Contents | Reading Tennessee Williams