Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mata Hari

Mon cher—forgive me if I am a little vague on dates,
but by the time I lay back on my pillow, I was already welcoming our appointed hour:
the shabby shows of justice, the firing squads, disgrace—death—these tedious old fools
no longer concern me. I accept their flowers with grace, but their predictable, impotent, palsied advances I dismiss.

What is this music
Stuck in my head
And who is this beauty,
The lady in red?

Consider this, my dear, while you’re inspecting my—how delicately can I put this—my credentials.
Invite the doctors in. As witnesses. I am not the green, unsifted girl I used to be.
If the cold hand of science—the sight of pale thighs in a speculum—sent shivers down her spine,
be kind enough to note that this reflex belongs to the past, not to me.

Perhaps it’s the whiskey
Just gone to my head.
She looks like this girl
I once took to bed.

Come to my dressing room after the performance. I shall leave instructions.
All will be arranged: my hair, the divan, and luxurious sensations—like limitless power.
Come to the stage door and knock three times. The porter, Patrice, will admit you.
Marie will take your coat and hat. The nation is waiting, cherie. You have

but to knock,
and enter.
I shall be there.

Her lips were sweet as honey,
Her eyes looked more like lead:
As icy as Pluto, so
Distant, dark, and dead.

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