Under the Mall’s Fist

La Cantera mall, cacophony
of pounding musical beats,
polished wood of a pirate play boat,
Alfresco patio furniture,
feather-trimmed tweed jacket,
stacks of rhinestone embellished panties,
zebra and leopard printed dresses.
A young saleslady approached,
wanted to do a makeover.
Seemed surprised when I said
I like how I look.
I recalled mall moments of charm
and taste, in the midst of
saturated perfumes, hot pink plastics.
But those are fleeting exceptions.
The rule is driving miles to the same stores.
What Thomas McGrath called
“All the grand night music of the
dying culture of money.”
And I would not know
where I am, where
I truly am, if I did not see
Mexican tile under
so many hurried feet.
Not any city, but in San Antonio.

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Sharon Olinka, author of The Good City (Marsh Hawk Press), is a poet and literary critic who lives in San Antonio.

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