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Also by Beth Ellen Anstandig:
The Last Stop Disco | The List of Grave Disappointments Lengthens

The Last Stop Disco

      Sint Maarten, Dutch West Indies

All is unsaid and undone, his belt
on the wide-planked floor, her negligee
off her shoulders, and for the fourth time that day
she pretends to love again
a john who hardly pretends at all.

He ducks in from the twenty minute
Caribbean downpour and finds her available,
his favorite girl, his rum bottle
in her chest of drawers, the tender cotton ropes
if he wants them, if he wants to hold her
against the cricketing bed.

She stares out her second-story window
to the salt ponds in the distance,
no longer dreaming the landscapes of Arnerica,
pulls the hurricane shutters closed,
trapping one breath of thick salt air
she sucks in slowly,
believing she'll never give it back.

The large wooden doors quiet her room,
interrupt the tree frogs
grieving in low moans. Beneath her window,
a circle of men litter the alleyway
drinking warm lager on carcasses of dead boats.
Their patois banter is of heavy fish,
gold watches, and someone's daughter
who thinks she'll marry someone's fortune.

Another hour has passed at The Last Stop Disco
and another man deflates in relief as he sees a sagging
on the comer, the God is Good Tailor Shop,
a seamstress smoking on the ragged porch.
He knows he has arrived,
pulls off the washboard road,
and takes one more turn
before heading home to his own bed.

Printed in the Fall/Winter 2000 issue of CLR

Beth Ellen Anstandig

Beth Ellen Anstandig was born in Detroit and received her MFA from Arizona State University. She lives in northern California where she teaches at San Jose State University and is the Director of the Center for Literary Arts. She is the winner of the 2000 Louisiana Literature Poetry Prize.

You can find Beth Ellen Anstandig on the web at:
—  "She Would Have Hated" (Tattoo Highway)
—  "Almost Mexico" (Tattoo Highway)
—  San Jose State University

Published by Clackamas Literary Review, in print and on the web at,, and
Copyright 2001-2002, Clackamas Community College