An Empty Parking Lot at Night

Suddenly you find yourself alone —
the sky’s the color of an eyeball’s pit,
too dark for skipping shadows, and the moon
even looks the other way. Your car’s
across the parking lot that, by the minute,
looks more and more a forest, every sidewalk
crack a bramble, every sound a howl
and every empty car’s a shrub the hungry
might lurk behind. You know the fairy tale –
tonight, you didn’t wear your short red dress,
meet strangers’ gazes with your eyes, or stop
to smell the moonlit lilies at your feet.
You tongue the rouge off from your lips and palm
the cell phone in your pocket, clutch your purse
to your hip. But dear, there’s nothing you can do;
the wolf is always after girls like you.

Originally published in Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots (Lamar University Press, 2014)


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Katherine Hoerth is the author of two poetry collections, Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots (Lamar University Press, 2014) and The Garden Uprooted (Slough Press, 2012). In 2015, she received the Helen C. Smith Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters for the best book of poetry. She teaches creative writing, feminist rhetoric, and literature and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her work has been included in journals such as Mezzo Cammin: A Journal of Formal Poetry by Women, Adanna, and Pleiades. She serves as poetry editor of Devilfish Review and Amarillo Bay and lives in Edinburg, Texas.

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