Marty McConnell


The girl in the tie is a boy in the bar light
and everyone in a skirt’s got eyes

for her buttons, snug in their sockets,
not one of them threatening

to burst. The light in the bar is the boy
in the girl sickened by lipstick. Every tie

is a slipknot, an unraveling skirt waist.
Her buttons say nothing

about regret or blurred mornings
or what’s under the lycra compressing

her chest. The bar in the boy is a pageant
of light, an astonishment of offers, skirts

pressed against the night, each other,
the boy, the boy in the girl in the tie

in the bar, the bar, her buttons, her hands
like her father’s, in charge, something

about power, something about
hold me down, something

about our fathers, some light
off her shoulders, some weight

the tie tells our skirts she can shoulder
better than our fathers, better her

than the bar, the night, our astonishment
of want. The boy in the light

is a pageant of buttons she knows
how to fasten in the dark. Escape

is key for the boy girl going home
with a skirt, going into the night

with the bar in her, with her lycra
and watch fob and the tie loose

as a slipknot, after all we’re all trying to kill
or marry our fathers and who better

than her, marooned at the bar with all
of his charm and none of his weaponry. What

better home for our want than the night,
her chest, our hands flattened against

the bar, each other, the lights overhead coming on
just as the music’s starting to get good.

Marty McConnell is the author of “wine for a shotgun” (EM Press, 2012) the director of Vox Ferus and a co-founder of the louderARTS Project. Her work has recently appeared in A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry; City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry; Indiana Review; Crab Orchard; Gulf Coast, and is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review. She lives in Chicago.