Behind The Poop Deck

                                    Hermosa Beach, California


Sue sees Mr. Laval the landlord coming,

frail, white-haired, pulled along the alley

by his poufy Chow, Saber. They stop in,

Laval complaining how bad

the noise was from the bar last night

Sue says its patrons brawl, piss on her car,


have sex against the dumpster.

A bunch of damned imposers, he gripes.

Vows to file a protest and, not for the first time,

puckers up toward Sue for a kiss

who ducks and keeps talking

as if nothing happened. Saber whines

and Laval heads for the strand. Grabbing

a Payday bought at the corner store

no one seems to shop in

and run by an angry ex-librarian, Sue

turns on the TV, thinks C-SPAN’s debate

looks good -- she sits down, opens the candy


and from under the wrapper a white moth

pops out, flies straight for her mouth.

She jumps up and screams,

debate moderator chiding

the panel to remember how undefined

and diverse the pursuit of happiness is.

                Ride Through Redlands | Rick Cummings

                Ride Through Redlands | Rick Cummings



SALLY MOLINI is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Rattle, Best New Poets, Barrow Street, Southern Poetry Review, among others. She co-founded Cerise Press ( and lives in Nebraska.