Tina Legs by Lydia Armstrong

In the years before my mother
left my father,
Tina Turner was the answer.

If Tina sang the question,
my mother bellowed it
twirling in our living room
boom box at full volume
song on repeat.

Tina had a point:
What DID love have to do with it?

In the pockets of my father’s robe
we found:
Empty condom wrappers
A crack pipe
Unstamped pills
Weed (which I filched).

On the shelves of the refrigerator
we found:
Congealed cola flecks
Expired cheese slices
Beer (which I drank).

Tina on the jukebox
where my mother waited tables,
she peered over a glass of pink wine
and said,
Don’t ever get married.

Tina with legs like slick pistons,
legs that danced
legs that ran
Tina who got away.

My mother walked to work
revolver in her handbag
scraped the half-chewed
dregs of someone else’s dinner
into the trash
lost her wedding band
slept on the couch.

Tina shimmied across a liquid stage
beaded fringe leaping,
my mother barefoot on the carpet
arms outstretched
lifting her knees and small toes
in duet.

My mother smiling
on her Tina legs.



Lydia Armstrong lives in Richmond, Virginia. Her work has appeared in The Axe Factory, apt, Voicemail Poems, Crack the Spine, Neon, Arsenic Lobster, Blotterature, and others. She is a current nominee for the Forward Prize for best single poem in the United Kingdom, and her poem, “The November We Are Fifteen” has been accepted in the forthcoming anthology The Best Small Fictions 2017 and will also appear in a forthcoming Crack the Spine anthology. She is currently working on a novel.



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