Pipe Dream

Liv Lansdale

Before I loved you,
you barber who refuse
to cut other people’s

hair, I fell for
the myths that fall
by the way-

side of your penny
loafers, by the ganders
you take as I remove my

ribbon. I could tell
you then, world-famous
abstainer, about Mai Tai-

drenched midnights
on Rattle Street, pockets
full of ducats, thirsts.

They taught me there, to
sing to kids. I had not
known how before. But

now: profound apologies.
I let you follow me
into that gathering, intimate

solely by virtue of a low
number, & saw your lips
were earthy slugs

I’d only glimpsed in books,
then you passed me
a cig & I wished for different

circumstances, & you had
former lovers write
letters of recommendation,

paper relics of the days they
let you cut their hair, & we
decided not all embraces

can be repositioned. Only
reconfigured. But now:
I watch your mouth

again. It releases
smoke that stains
my throat. It conducts

an emptiness. It is fine
company, I thought
as I reached for the electric

broom, & you told
me I could take a drag
on the condition

that I never come back.
Your mouth is a cootie
catcher of the depraved.







Liv Lansdale works at Gotham Writers’ Workshop and Six Foot Chipmunk, a documentary outreach firm. She studies creative writing and sustainable development at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in PANK, The Broadkill Review, Poetry Super Highway, Nostrovia, Inclement, Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics, Kestrel, The Poydras Review, and others.


2 thoughts on “Pipe Dream

  1. I like the way this is feather-light on the tongue and heavy all at once. Nicely done.

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