by Mari Pack

The woman in the women’s restroom
on the third floor
of the humanities building
is rearranging
—or is it retying?—
her scarf.
Animal print and nearly as shear
as western fashion,
she layers it fastidiously
while I look at my feet
out of respect
because I am a good Westerner.
Still, I wonder
to my dirty black boots
if it is not more rude
to avoid the slick black hair
with the widow’s peak:
hat hair, patted down.
Her eyes switch between the mirror
and the door
that swings open
She presses her thin body
against the filthy, wet
sink shelf
as the line of women
stare at their feet
and wait to piss.
We could, I think,
meet her eyes in the mirror.
We are allowed to look
at her hair
in the women’s restroom
because those are the rules.
But none of us are willing
to risk it.

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