Kim Gek Lin Short
Playboy Bunny Swimsuit Biker

American Momma keeps a toy gun

in the glass china cabinet she got

from the basement of that building that burned down

with two babies and a grandma inside.


She tries to make it look pretty.

Clothed jars of jam    mismatched porcelain     Polaroids

of decked-out strangers lucky tie-dyed rabbit’s foot

chained for power to the 1977 Kiss lunchbox


& the gun

grouped with linens

its glossy muzzle

denting a doily.


The gun looked so real that once Amatuer Ray mistook it for his

& left on a job with it snug behind the buttonfly of his 501s.


That was the day American Momma found out

her biker bitch neighbor stole

her Playboy Bunny Swimsuit.

It was Lucy’s best.


One-piece halter strap

ghost sheer backless top

midnight bottom ruched across the hi-cut seat

bowtie bunny cut-out stenciled in nude mesh

hip-height of the upper right cheek.


If truth be told

the theft began

a time before

that summer day.


It began the time her neighbor peeped

Lucy in a lawnchair

tanline of bowtie bunny

towel flung on chain-link

wind wobbling the fence

a voice no woman disregards

there are ways prettier to be.


These are dark times

American Momma

told Boxer.


Boxer had been at Lucy and Ray’s for exactly one night.

Boxer stood on the bathroom lino sagging in a swimsuit

dripping from the only bath she had

since living in that car.


American Momma crouched on the toilet

a laundry sack of clothes between her legs

sorting to see if any might fit the child.

The child was diminutive even for a child.


It was becoming clear to American Momma

she would need to get the kid some clothes.

Ever since yesterday it was becoming clear

to American Momma

she was full-up doubled-over

with feelings for the child.


These are dark times

American Momma

told Boxer.


It’s true any thief can traipse through your door

swipe a swimsuit off your radiator

stretch it over her wide ass

it’s true


I had Ray’s real gun that day

I’m telling you this

cuz I’m not that kind of person

I’m not gonna raise you to be that kind of person


plus you’re my responsibility now

I want to make you safe

(American Momma dead serious spoke)

so don’t go knocking on Apartment 5

got it?

That bitch has had it in for me ever since I shot her only lamp.


American Momma was not used to having

feelings for foreigners.


Do you understand me?

She dead serious spoke.

Do you speak English?



Found In Volume 48, No. 01
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  • Kim gek lin short
Kim Gek Lin Short
About the Author

Kim Gek Lin Short is the author of the lyric novels The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits and China Cowboy, both from Tarpaulin Sky Press. Her debut hybrid collection, The Residents, was published by Chicago's dancing girl press. Her work in hybrid poetics appears in anthologies such as Narrative (Dis)Continuties: Prose Experiments by Younger American Writers (Moria Books) and &Now Awards: The Best Innovative Writing (Lake Forest College Press), as well as numerous literary journals.