by Hari Alluri
Tita bartender, LAX, tuxedo
behind a name plate. Three songs deep she drops
into whichever hook comes on
while wide-eyeing a customer round this U-shape bar.
Now, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam and—to each other—
we sing lost in emoshuh-unnn
and I know why I pulled up on this stool
after getting through: the special coded
light that signals random check; the dimensions of
the stare I met before it blinked to stop me; the classic
break I battled to in my head, back
talking the gloves up in my stuff
catchy, stretched out. I sat down here to feel a distance,
the distance in bodies that know
belonging feels like someone else’s music.
Que-sera que-sera over top of the next song’s bridge
bends the language that suppressed our tongues
333 years: she makes it
more beautiful. I’m dancing in my seat.
Massachusetts Review, Poemeleon, POETRY, and Wildness, among others.