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December 7, 2023

Forcing My Thoughts into Sequential Haiku While Waiting for My Uber on a Rainy Evening in the Hilton Hotel Lobby During Otakon

Francesca Leader

There are things I might

do if still solitary,

no one to torture

or nurture but me—

might take Kung Fu and lift weights

three hours a day un-

til I was not just

frayed but shredded, cosplaying

the Bride from “Kill Bill”

on my Tinder dates,

test prospective hook-ups’ met-

tle with a fork pressed

to the jugular—

“You and I have unfinished

business,” I might hiss,

Uma-like, blonde wig

and frosted lip menacing,

I might ask if they

Liked their orange juice

pulpy, and if that didn’t

scare them off, perhaps

we’d soon intertwine

in the raining moonlit dark—

I’d have to be drunk,

you understand—soused

beyond shame, or I’d never

pull such a thing off,

so it’s a given

that I’d have downed a bottle

of sake solo

before going out

to meet the guy, for how else

to be embodied

the way these girls seem

in their cat ears and “fuck me”

boots, elaborate

bodices, hand-stitched

tails and 3-D printed swords—

they need no shields;

their makeup alone

wards off all threat of uncool-

ness. I could have been

one of them, but that

is not why I’m here in this

chandeliered lobby,

waiting for a black

Toyota Prius driven

by “Dave” to take me

back to the life I’m

fleeing when I come here, un-

dress, and wait for you.


FRANCESCA LEADER is a self-taught writer and artist originally from Western Montana. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Wigleaf, HAD, Fictive Dream, Barren, the Leon Literary Review, JMWW, the Mom Egg Review, Stanchion, Streetcake, Bullshit Lit, Zone 3, and elsewhere. Learn more about her work at, or connect with her on Instagram and Twitter at

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