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Elaine Mintzer
May 2022

Elaine Mintzer lives in Los Angeles.  Her work has been published in journals and anthologies including MacQueen’s Quinterly, Lindenwood Review, Beloit Poetry Review, Panoplyzine, Slipstream Press, Gryroscope Review, Last Call, Chinaski, and Lummox. Elaine’s first collection, Natural Selections was published by Bombshelter Press.



                       Once I wore a dress liquid as vodka

                                              Ellen Bass


He thought I could slake his longing

  because he was dying of thirst.


  Thirst terrible and dry as his mother.

A mother of sharp heels and barbed embrace.


But first I had to ignite myself--

  cool cocktail burning in a tumbler—


  until I too was empty

and only the scent of me


remained on the glass,

  on his lips.

  Oh Christ,

on his hands.


  And there in the shifting sands

of his wasteland we grew lush


in an oasis of kisses,



  as the sun slid

from its distant perch,


and day gave way

  to liquid night.





I can see the end of the year from here.

It’s October and Halloween is soon.

It’s time to gather root crops.

Neighborhood boys will smash pumpkins.

Every night I hear the rattling of bones.


Wind scrubs leaves from branches--

the maple’s saw teeth,

the melaleuca’s curled tongues,

the broken jaws of palm fronds

that scrape across the driveway.


Smoke haunts the skies.

I feel it in my chest.

Los Angeles is on fire.

California’s on fire.

In the morning, I find ash on the patio chairs.

SoCal snowfall, ashfall, smokefall.


You see, conditions are ripe for a conflagration.

Everything dry.

Humidity low.


It’s late October

and everything is falling:

angels, ankles, arches.

Ashes, ashes everywhere.

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