Pirate party

on the dashboard the petrol pump icon red
I drive further to avoid the locals
to the quiet gas station in the next town
filling up, I’m glad there’s nobody to see

my head scarf, eye patch and mascaraed moustache
dirtied face, baggy shirt and swashbuckling trousers
the guy at the counter smiles and takes my money
the stache doesn’t really suit you

loud music and chatter spill out the open door
Captain Tony swigs a frothy beer from a tankard
a buccaneer in blousy white and a tricorn hat dances
with her teenage son in a black skeleton leotard

the hostess wears a pink curly wig
my big-hug girlfriend of twenty-five years,
she’s stand-offish, scans my one eye
not quite able to place me

amongst the throng an ex-boyfriend and ladies’ man
looks at me with an unfamiliar face of disinterest
jumps in surprised recognition, I thought you were a bloke!
then avoids me with suspicious eyes

the young woman who admires my costume
is the baby I watched enter the world
now twenty-one she points me out to her friends
that guy’s a chick

first prize for the best dressed pirate!
I win a pillowcase to fill with ‘loot’
the donated second-hand goods on the floor
pick out a cosmetic mirror, two-sided, magnified

Sue Peachey


Poetry, permaculture and pottery are the preoccupations of Peachey. Sue lives in Canberra and is from New Zealand. She has published previously in Westerly, Not Very Quiet, Eucalypt, Haibun Today and Kokako.

© 2019