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Thursday, April 10, 2008


by Rochelle Ratner (1948-2008)

398. She counts them again. The inventory list says 400. Probably gave two to the hussy. She walks along the shelves, picks up a camera phone, takes a picture of her cunt, then finds a phone with more resolution and takes another shot. The deep sex smell’s enticing. She walks along the rows now, match in hand, careful to light one phone at a time so she can hear each sizzle. She remembers that sizzling rice dish she went to so much trouble to make for him. Here’s a small blue phone a customer used for a test call last Monday. She hits the redial but the number’s blocked. Of course it’s blocked. She picks up speed now, trying to get them all to burn together. She has less than twenty phones left when the police arrive. She turns back to look one more time. The fireworks have abated. By next week these phones will be replaced with newer models, she supposes. There will always be new phones, new men, new women.

Rochelle Ratner's most recent poetry books included Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She was the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press).