I take my seat at the bar, I’m pretty civilized, I do so without being told; I order a drink and it arrives, the lemon rind shaved and floating, peel curling the way vodka twists, I’m happy to talk with you, I’m happy to be alone; I nod and smile real friendly across the bar—I like the way your hair sits, and you smile back at me, mouth bent, furled, so I send a drink your way and the bartender delivers it to you with an olive and a note: cheers x, it says, and you raise the glass to me in thanks, tilting your head, then as you drink your tongue unwinds, long, forked, and thin, your eyelids close horizontally: a lizard person, and I don’t really mind, I’m open-minded, though when I’m reminded of your teeth in lieu of genitals, I think I might skip the one-night stand, stick to the drink, and find myself a clean bathroom stall and a bottle of moisturizer.
Helena Pantsis (she/they) is a writer of short form fiction from Naarm, Australia. A full-time student of creative writing, they have a fond appreciation for the gritty, the dark, and the experimental. Her works are published in Overland, Island Online, Going Down Swinging, and Meanjin. More can be found at hlnpnts.com.
image: Emily Bottomley