For YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company)
If I could unscrew the mouth of each private
bulb, shed their skins like eggshells,
extract the hummingbird— frozen
beak still entranced in the nectar
of her last bird of paradise,
I would resuscitate her with the flesh of a curled fist,
hold her barely beating blaze
inside the jar of my memory.
I’d run my palm along her fossilized pirouette,
trace veins from the semi-nude ecstasy of neon Thunderbirds
and into the jackpot that history will fill—
if we wait long enough.
I’d untangle the encapsulated indulgence—
glitter in the gulch of our deepest craving.
The frayed wires like split spines of electric fish,
the first proof that pleasure could be measured in amperes.
I would watch her weep sparks for Vegas Vic
who was seduced by Sassy Sally’s mechanical hips,
the boot-spur spell she placed on every marquee in town.
Soon, the game was goosed and spotless
LEDs lit the strip with identical watts.
Slipped inside her rusted repurposed heel
is everything we need to know.
The story of her last spin arched like a wrist
pitching cards, the day flat dice hushed every bulb bare,
which was nothing like the beginning—
nothing like the way plutonium veiled
sunlight, haloed heat into a charge.
The nuclear sunset on the Blvd,
as golden as a young electric sign.
Jennifer Battisti, a Las Vegas native, studied creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. Her work has appeared in the anthology Legs of Tumbleweed, Wings of Lace, as well as in Desert Companion, Minerva Rising, Helen: a Literary Magazine, Red Rock Review, Citron Review, and elsewhere. She is the workshop facilitator for the Las Vegas Poetry Organization. Her debut chapbook, Echo Bay, is forthcoming in 2018.