Everything has faces here. Flat and laughing
behind glass panels, polyester plush
and firm vinyl on the toystore shelves, glowing
in a smile above the buffet counter, inviting
someone to break bread with at 1:15 pm on a Tuesday.

Even the mannequins, who
you mistake as faceless, are watching.

This spotless prairie of linoleum,
scattering music nobody is singing,
under dying fluorescent stars once
felt a whisper through the switchgrass. People
of flesh, sunbaked wrinkles, hair that molted
like down, skin that sprinkled as dust, sliced
their delicate packaging on blades of tree.

Superior the mannequins, whose
bodies neither soften nor decay, the neon
mascots, always understood, safer
the plastic figures perfectly molded, the animals
bright and loveable, the advertisements
smiling always at nothing.

Phoebe Rodriguez was born and raised in southern California, and now calls the Twin Cities home. They received a B.F.A. in Theatre from Viterbo University and works as a wardrobe technician. Their work has been featured in Snowflake Magazine, oranges journal, and elsewhere. Phoebe’s debut poetry chapbook, Fatherland, Motherland, was released July 18th from Kith Books. Reach them at their website or on Twitter @prodri008.

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