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First Ladies First

First Ladies First


The gold on the lamp
is the gold on the chair
is the gold on her cheeks and slitted eyes.
Her skin, scrubbed to red,
the frost on her face matters,
fostered in dungeons,
by ogres and witches who snapped their maws,
threw unction under her feet.

Safety nets are full of holes,
dangerous to the small.
She ran, she flew, she walked, she stumbled,
bouncing naked, straining to escape.

Loneliness is freedom
for the prisoner,
incarceration frees the unwell.
She finds her health
in symbols of chocolate,
wine and silk,
will die of hunger, cold and terminal sobriety.

She fakes what’s up her sleeve,
what’s invisible could be her salvation.
Tears are notes sung in secret,
songs that anyone can sing by sight.
A golden throne sat empty,
she put her ass right down and sang.


It might be time to count your blessings,
many sins among them.
Put your feet,
one and then the other,
down upon their stones
to find your island.

Close your eyes.
Open your eyes.
Nothing is changed
but you.


What child’s tales would you tell,
witness to a cache of dirty treasure?
Innocence last seen from your cradle,
a chaotic language,
but never taught the code.
Invention is the father of necessity.
Your pulled pork heart is stretched
beyond the limits of love,
so where do you put your arms to hold?


Last but not least, you are.
You slithered out of fortune’s womb,
a royal nothing in the glare of everything and all.
And how much more,
and even more,
and more and more,
and more,
before you fill a golden tomb?

–Bonny Finberg


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