Under this flickering blue light,
in this sea of tapers
and taffeta,
saccharine bite of toffee
and floral pattern of
too-sweet wine on my tongue,
I am indifferent to the hollow
faces that cackle,
jolt their heads like dolls.
It is hot in this room,
another place I have to be:
there is nowhere else to go.

The empty road is a release,
the car a coffin
where we breathe out of sync.
On the petrol station counter
pumpkins leer
and when Hotel California enters my head
I know it will loop too long.
The man steaming the floor
in a zombie mask
says ‘have a good night’
and I totter in high heels to the car,
the sky, no stars,
locked up in clouds.

Jane Frank (Queensland)

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