Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Miriam Levine: Beauty Secrets of the Dead

In life Jen’s hair had never been so thick.
Never would she have bought a kimono
on which firecracker mums explode
 
through skies of silk.  “Tell me,” I begin,
but my aunt lifts her chin, pressing a finger
against her lips, and yawns like a cat.
 
When I ask again, she pushes away air
with the flat of her palm and refuses a beer,
though she once loved to sip through rafts
 
of suds to taste dark brew.  Like one 
pestered by flies, she tosses her head,
but, noticing my tears, speaks at last:  
 
“You will have to see ‘the moist lotus open
along the banks of the Acheron.’”  Had Jen
met Sappho whose words she quoted?
 
Jen who never read anything
but bills and Sunday papers
comes back from the dead educated.
 
“Honey, the weight of new hair will make your scalp
ache.  Deliciously. You’ll drink Château Lafite
with all those you have loved, and young Saint
 
Laurent himself will make your clothes.
The scent of jasmine will never fade.  
But not one of these things is worth it.”
 
Kicking her hem as if she were dancing
flamenco, she dismisses me with a kiss
blown with fingers that once tied my ribbons.

Copyright 2018 Miriam Levine

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This entry was posted on October 19, 2019 by in Health and Nutrition, Humor and Satire, Poetry and tagged , .

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