Bewildering Stories

The Count at the Mall

John Grey

Between families struggling
to out-debt each other
and the crazy winter mall rats,
a night-time stroll.
Shop window light
stills in my pale face.
Dummies wistfully stare
out of their glass cage.
I smile at the hollows
of my refusal to reflect.
Almost Valentines day.
Chocolates in cardboard coffins.
A thousand hearts
soaked in blood.
In my gaunt memory,
love, like an old beggar,
turns its pockets inside out
until the holes are uppermost.
To the faint hum of Musak,
I glide from Transylvania
to America
like oil through a sewer grate.
I smile at the irony
of anything built to last
a lifetime,
stop to endure
the clumsy movie posters.
The triplex cinema is playing
that interview with
the usual fakes.

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Copyright 2002 by John Grey and Bewildering Stories.