Siren Song of the Southland Mall Food Court, 2021

Behold my prehistoric palm fronds, the only living remains in this place.

They stand erect like Greek marble, eternal tips kissing the skylights.

Below, backlit signs, modern antiques, glow mute where once I witnessed

flora and fauna coexist — men stalked my domain munching on cheesesteaks 

and teriyaki shrimp. Before it all went south I was open late on weekends.

I hummed an old tune as girlfriends binged in Sears and Victoria’s Secret.

Their weary, half-starved lovers would hear my call and drift downstairs

like paper boats in a stream. It’s been a year since the escalator 

delivered me fresh meat. Come to me. You crave Hot Dog on a Stick? 

Honey, we’ll go whole hog. I’ll pile your tray high with fries, broccoli beef,

extra froyo topping — peaks of stiff cherry jelly and whipped cream. Listen.

I’ll show you where I stock loads of sticky Cinnabon glaze. Track it through

the rug in the ladies’ room lounge, where young mothers used to jam

quarters into vending machines for fruity mouth sprays. Spill your 

Orange Julius all over my formica tables. Baby please. Imagine dragging 

these steel chairs across my peach pink tiles so their screeches echo past 

the Century Theater, that showy tramp down the hall. You could lose it all 

to me on the claw machine, your fist tight on the joystick scratching at 

a stuffed teddy. Let me feel your thighs squeeze into the coin-op kiddy Camaro 

that can jerk you a dollar a minute. Remind me how it feels to be filled with 

fluorescence, footsteps, and hot breath. I will destroy you.

What are you looking for?