Venus Out on the Town

By Shakira Croce

Featured Image: Interior of an Ancient Egyptian Temple by Robert Caney, 1888
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

Yes, you may buy me
A drink

It has been a long week for me too
At work trading, you said?

No, you haven’t had much?
Experience in social enterprise

Isn’t it great we live in a country
Where you and your partners can pull such fine bootstraps

One of the brightest, yes
I’ve been told I have a nice smile among other things

Your lines show in a few more years
Your advances will be harmless, cute even

Thank you for the champagne
What did you say your name was?

You were telling me something
About your problem of being unable

To find a good dry cleaner for your white button-downs
Yes, I’ll have another

About your travels in Italy, did you see the naked Sabine
Captured in marble by so many chiseled arms

As she reaches above her alabaster
Gasp into the open air?

You were telling me something
She was much younger anyway

She told you it was over, you drink too much
No wonder you can’t get it up

Sorry,
That was a cheap shot

I don’t know why
I can be so defensive

Never mind, you were telling me something
I feel like it involved pills or dollars

And seeking counsel
Of course you had no idea

Excuse me, I don’t mean to leave now
When we’ve just met and you’ve bought me

So many drinks
It’s just that the French student across from us

I’ve been eying biting his lips
Has gone to smoke

And I wonder
What I’m missing

Maybe because there’s something about this
Time of night ebbing like the foam on the sea


Shakira Croce is a writer living in New York. Leave It Raw (Finishing Line Press, 2020) is her debut collection, featuring poems that explore the nuances of sexuality, motherhood, and ambition. Croce’s poetry has been featured in several literary magazines, including Pilgrimage Press, Ducts, pioneertown, Permafrost Magazine, and Shark Reef. She was a featured reader in the Boundless Tales Series and a finalist in the Linda Flowers Literary Award competition. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MPA from Pace University and currently works as Assistant Director of Communications at New York’s largest Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan, Amida Care.

Originally appeared in NOR 17

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