Where are they gone, my gum-chewing sluts,
gold loops swinging under ears,
lipstick on their teeth,
twisted nylon seams and broken struts
of worn spike heels,
taps clicking on the cracking concrete streets.

Smart-ass answers, knowing smirks,
good-guy laughs, kind pats for kids,
breadcrumbs for birds,
and “crumbun” for jerks,
colognes that made you cough, and eyelids,

half-masted with memories,
smelling of a steady guy,
randy with gasoline, his flannel shirt
bunched on the bed.
mascara rimming smoochy eyes
and heavy thighs sliding under slit skirts.

Sometimes they let your touch linger on a breast
an extra second before the laughing slap and curse.
Sometimes, in stockrooms, cool and empty,
they showed the rest of the mystery,
the split center of the universe.