For My 40th Birthday
by Pat Phillips West
I can see it now. A yellow dress
that lifts with the breeze,
freeing my thighs
from their winter dark denim
prison. A sassy number
that makes men stare or whistle.
Untethered, kids at their father’s
for the weekend, I stroll North Mississippi
Avenue, checking out Gypsy Chic,
Manifesto Shoes. The Meadow’s front window
stops me, all those stacks
of pink Himalayan salt blocks,
I step inside, want to run my tongue over
their smooth surfaces. Hope anyone watching
would say, Look at that broad.
I sniff artisan salts from Bali, Bolivia,
sample one from Brazil, wonky, fresh-tasting
with a touch of hotness.
And there’s an entire wall of dark chocolate,
floor to ceiling
waiting to be undressed
and nibbled. I sample one
made from beans grown on the lower slopes
of the “Mountains of the Moon,”
on the equator in the Congo, spicy,
slightly peppery taste. Long on the palate,
buzzing on my tongue as I continue
down the street. Sun-drunk,
hips sashaying back and forth
to the tune of throaty mating sounds
playing in my head. I twirl so the gauzy fabric
brushes against that soft spot
on the back of my knees.
I walk like I’m on my way
to a bonfire
swinging a can full of gasoline.
Yeah, sunflower yellow
and low-cut with a flash of tit.
Pat Phillips West moved so often even her closest friends asked if she was in the Witness Protection Program. She refused to comment. Her poems appear in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstreamand elsewhere.