in one overlooked corner of the red velvet tea room.
and every rancid moment yet to come,
thumbing through her yellowed Byron,
a gift bought in Berlin.
edges pressed under crackled nail varnish.
Wire bodice - half laced.
crookedly distending nylon checkers
athwart her pointed ankles.
head of rags spun taut in Plath,
at the round bottom of Hemmingway.
pungent exiles, acrid curls of perfume
dart between her bee-stung quivering lips,
Piaf off the Victrola reminds.
Cackle - passing ignorance,
keeping custody of the bass tempo,
her agony, memoirs, pounding.
She loses herself.
in slovenly tongues
moistened with Vichy promises,
and brimstone from victories remiss,
that bloody, frost-bitten hole where he lays,
misshapen now too,
wrapped in his gaudy butcher’s paper
of red, white and blue,
souring the terrain
curdling his youth
to haunt her ancestral afterglow
in the snuff of their lovely,