Leveler Poetry Journal
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The Ladybug at the Drag Show


The ladybug can be snuck

into the ladies’ room: the ladybug will hide

in my vacant earring hole.

Outside the stalls, it watches

as I do the things that ladies do outside of stalls.

I am a pro with lip liner. The ladybug lets me

outline its spots. I am faultless

as shaving cream rust rings.

The ladybug is now sexy as anticipation for a ringing phone.

I am having fun. I am decadent in fun.

The bar is all jolting & hip swing. The bar is the promise

of a supple drying rack next to a radiator’s

gentle hum. The bathroom is fog & clumps of wet tissue.

I am not drunk. I drink

things that are magenta. I do not drink

things that are high-maintenance.

A queen exits a stall to do the things ladies do outside of stalls.

The ladybug takes note

of the intricate accumulations

of my body. The queen looks

at me like plagiarism because I am a plagiarism.

I reach into myself. I reach under

my breast to an apple

but I don’t know the give-&-take that would make this

not a suckerpunch. She is all

sequins & swaying ponytails. Her lips

smell of pomegranate & liquor;

my lips are sweating

from the apple. The apple

is newborn & blue. The apple is sweating

with a promise & we are tired as the coring knife.

This is the promise:

the ladybug is anxious

to know the queen’s pedestaling arm;

I am anxious to splay my hair on the next offered thigh;

the queen is anxious for none of this.

The music is louder when the door opens.

The music is softer when the door swings shut.

The discoing lights ready the next act.

Lucia LoTempio