M@n R@y’s Mannequin

Ruth Towne


Saguaro National Park West, Tucson, Arizona

Do not look, and do not look away–
halogen bright, a late-night drive,
at the end of the world, the horizon

passed its light pink tourmaline beads
from one hourglass half to the other,
leaving one bulb hollow, nebula blue.

On the stereo, a woman retells a time
another woman died, a brutal crime,
a cold case to keep one up at night.

Animal eyes shine from the roadside,
pairs of honeycombs and marigolds,
in and out of the quartz iodine gleam.

The pickup truck in red-rock canyons
is a shriek in the night, either the cry
of a woman in peril or the careful call

of a predator in disguise. However brief,
there is everything in high beams’ reach,
and everything else, everything hidden

just on the other side of the dark, velvet
ash and sycamore, and more eyes–rose
quartz and meadowsweet, sargassum

seagrass and moons of mars aglow
while mars observes earth, sky-side
in outer space. It’s background sound

on an unscenic drive, the tragic myth
of the mannequin woman. Her life,
however brief, flashed like a halogen

beam, so the talk show host covered
everything else, the desert at night.
In a pair of eyes, one eye is the sun,

the other is the moon, mascara lines
each, dark aura in the early morning.
On the road, a set of headlights arrive,

and light creeps in at first, then burns
into view and explodes. Like shrapnel
it passes through the eyes, then embeds

itself deep within the brain, remaining
in sight even after eyes close, one sun,
one moon, while the stereo drones on.



Ruth Towne is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. Her poetry has recently appeared in Grim & Gilded, Plainsongs Poetry Magazine, New Feathers Anthology, The Orchard Poetry Review, The Decadent Review, Inlandia Literary Journal, and Beyond Words Literary Magazine. She has forthcoming publications in Mantis Poetry Journal. She hopes someday to become a respected gardener.