I catch a subtle whiff of dried lavender
As our director, a wiry-haired widow,
Lights a cigarette and with a simple single
Gesture flicks the ashes into the palm of her
Fashionably tattooed and manicured left hand.
"There is no need to state your full name;
Just speak of the fear, the constant fear," she coaches.
Behind us, the steady swing and flutter of
Gold diaphanous curtains as a clammy, familiar breeze
Passes through the old chartreuse theater.
We describe strange, tormenting, ritualistic behavior:
Washing, checking, hoarding... mental anguish so
Exquisite the weariest sheds mellifluous tears:
"I've shared ambrosia with gods;
At midnight, demons turn my terror to film noir."
That evening, I dream of solitude
And the transmigration of souls...
One lonely soul wishing to return
Washed in amnesia, hypnotized and untainted.
When I awaken, it is still dark-
Down below, the street is eternally bathed
In disconsolate orange moonlight...
Trapped in an endless maze of mirrors. ©
© 2004 Marjorie Levine, in "Naked Amnesiac"