Speak to me in hushed tones
And tell me who stole the peaches
From the old backyard tree
The night I danced the fandango
In front of a closed automat.
As the humidity of that evening
Turned my hair a burnt sienna
An elastic lady teased, “Tsk tsk,”
Because the chartreuse slippers I wore
Were not even my own.
Siamese twins took turns
Stroking the belly of an insect
That rested on the sterling silver tray
I held in my outstretched left hand.
A fading fragrant French cologne-
Earlier a sweet elixir-
Melted under the neon lights
At the very moment
The tattooed film director
Held a lit match to her cigarette
And started a small fire.
And the charlatan I once loved
Did a few fancy smart steps and knew,
As usual, I would forget.
© 2004 Marjorie Levine, in "Naked Amnesiac"