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Ethereal Visage in Flesh

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I.
What do you mean, dear?
Did you sit in a Parisian café
With the sun in front of you
but not behind
because one should always leave their secrets in the dark?

You must know the ways of curves and perpetual sighs.




II.
We have drunk espresso into the wee hours of the morning,
danced with abstract and aloof figures home from
foreign expeditions and business ventures.

Our hats can tilt to the side slightly,
suggestively
or cover our faces with black veils for safe hiding.

Our eyes are the only windows here.




III.
We wear pendants on our chests
to suggest delicate qualities
past lives kept in jewelry boxes
which men fear but yearn to rip off

our billowing blouses
and see for themselves the beauty beneath
the allure under our fur wraps and feather hats.
We wear birds but are by no means defined by them.

We cover our knees and ankles,

the white flesh

the soft clay
men touch and smooth under covers
but never see save for sculptural, pastel-colored dreams.
The contour of our rouged faces were made, but not inspired, by our mothers.



IV.
Our blood runs deep and quickly
moving our bodies
for the men we love
to hide secrets from those we loathe.
We are not new to the aches which

rile our hearts

break our ribs.
We conceal them with powder and ointment
to protect the guiltless whims
of those who would rather not understand.

We are the immortal sirens yet we walk among men.




V.
You and I met in the Tuileries
amongst lilacs and elms
surrounded by marble statues men had crafted years before.
We lay in the grass, soft flesh escaping our linen summer dresses
and let our hair fall back in nature’s broad expanse.
We laughed about the dominant sex
and then the clear, blue sky gave
way to rain and clouds.

Two men in charming hats and suits saw us from across the garden
overstepped the flowers
and asked up to come inside.

They helped us up as though our legs would scar from the cold and wet.
Did they know that we have been wet and alone before?

We allowed them to take us to their favorite little café by the edge of the river.
One of them caught your eye.
Could you tell he was nervous, and then,
Did he let you inside?

A carousel of nods and glances in your direction unlocked his private heart.





VI.
‘Will you wear your kimono and those precious pearls
from your jewelry box to greet him on the wedding night?’
I asked.

We are visages set before shadow:
ethereal beauties made of secret and flesh.





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