A dry petal stuck to her wet lips, dusty roses from a rusty lover. She plucked it from the red ink and tossed it to a drooler, front row, with heavy pockets. The bouquet rustled as she spun. The feathers on her shoulders shivered as she pulsed. Was HE watching? On toe, silk slippers, she popped her hips left, right, forward, left, right. She wanted him to see her. She wanted him to eye the weaving of her corset, to glimpse under the layers. She spun, brisk air swimming around her thighs. Loose curls swinging past her diamond-painted eyes. Would he wash it off in his bathroom, her bare thighs resting on the porcelain sink? She puffed out her chest and tucked it in to the beat. She ran the bouquet up her thigh, her side, until it pricked her peaking breasts, expanding with each inhale.

She spun. Her slippers sliding on cabinet, lace pooling at her waist. Would he come to her?  She dived forward, her back bending, her legs straightening, and her backside shaking an imaginary fox tail. Denim against her skin, her hands pulling at cotton. She swept the beat above her head and let it tumble to the sound of applause, of whistles and grunts. Her bow was short, her exit quick. She was feverish, lit. Leather sliding from tight loops, taut chord loosening silk and bone.

As the next act took the stage, she steadied herself and peaked at the crowd. She couldn’t see him. He didn’t come. What was she supposed to do? Then, she felt him, cotton and denim pressed into her back. Fingertips brushed across her arm, and she trembled. She spun, stood on toe, and whispered, “Take me home.”