Thursday, January 17, 2019

With a Marionette on a Tether

“Well, I never,” she said,
as she walked straight ahead
off the stage at the end of the act
with a marionette on a tether.
The play was a bomb, and she
couldn’t be certain how long
the dull thing would go on,
but she’d wanted what seemed
like forever to have the occasion
to say in a play, “Well, I never.”
She’d longed for this line
like a coke addict pines for more
lines of cocaine or a masochist
pleads for more pain.
If she were a desert, this line
would be rain. And now in this
terrible play it had fallen to her
every night to be summoned
to say it. And now, every night,
at the end of an act,
with a marionette on a tether,
she once again felt his first
breath wafting down like
a feather: the heat in his
mouth – the fur on his chest –
the unrest had unraveled her:
worse, it had promised
to banish the curse, fill the lack,
as he breathed on her back,
“Well, I never.”

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