“Another Server Calls me ‘Young Lady,'” by Tina Barry

Aug 20th, 2021 | By | Category: Poetry

I’ve blown into the bakery, a witch
for fine pastry—buns, biscuits and better—
warm cookies crisp. My stare turns sweets unsavory. My broom
sours sables, toughens muffins. Yet I stir
the soul-patched server, a gourmand who’s
christened a cake Orange You
…..Peachy, and scripted it in gold, a name you
(and by you, I mean me) find worthy of a snicker. I’m a witch
alright, crone if you like, pointy hat swapped for a mohawk, whose
‘do and dramatic entrance deserve better
than “Hello, Young Lady.” Young Lady! How that stirs
the burbling cauldron of my soul. Oh, Wee Lad. See this broom?
…..Yes, you. My broom!
After I park this ride, we’ll have a chat you
won’t forget; (the perfect incantation stirs
beneath my once snow white skin). Scared, your eyes scan. Which
scone needs your attention? Little Man, you should’ve known better
than to welcome me with young when you meant old. Oh, you whose
…..lips form the cervical O of a doughnut, who
trembles as I near. I can cast a spell, ride this broom
hard. Would waving a wand be better?
Ooooh, what fun I’ll have with you!
Wait. Did I say wand? I meant stake! Being a witch,
I’ll hex your hair, barnacle your brows. Stirring
…..isn’t it? “What,” you ask, “Young Lady offends?” A greeting meant to stir
the kindest emotions. Only a witch, you imply, who
could, um, use a good brooming, only a witch
would see a diss when affection was intended. Oh blasted broom!
oh black cats, bats and bother! I who
know from trial, and (rarely) error, a spell is always better.
…..Yes, it’s me who should have known better
then to say, “Excuse me, Small Sir (cruel, I know, but he stirred
ill will), “Are you listening?” You
who says young when he means old. Whose
brown eyes, as I babble, burn to a crumb. See this broom?
it took years to earn. So which witch do you want? The witch
…..who gobbles your heart like a soiled cherry? Or the witch who stirs
a vision of your future? Hairline a receding memory. Luscious man breasts. Oh, a joy better—
well, it won’t get better, than saying, “Hello, Young Man!” once I turn you old.


Tina Barry was the world’s crankiest secretary turned textile designer. She now teaches poetry and short fiction. Tina is the author of Beautiful Raft (Big Table Publishing, 2019) and Mall Flower (Big Table Publishing, 2016). Her work can be found in the Best Short Fictions 2020 (spotlighted story) and 2016, The Nasty Women Poets, Feckless Cunt, Drunken BoatInch MagazineYes, PoetryConnotation Press and elsewhereTina is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has had several Best of the Net nods.

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