after the life & words of Rita Hayworth



                    but wake up with me
a rabbit with no hind legs, a girl
with no hood: a skull shaped like a war

head, or a waning moon, or a pistol.
you know, the kind we women carry
at our pretty little hips, you know, the gilded

kind, the kind you could own,
                  like they owned me.
like they owned my false name,

my 		  Rita, 	my worth,
like they could carve new light in my powderkeg
skull, fostering a fatal wound

in me,	the fatal woman.	but buddy,
have I got news for you: my skin is iridescent, warped
by lights two fictions deep. I am story. I am legs

& skull & pistol in between. I am
a father’s daughter. he clutches at my ankles
as they tap coins & teeth into existence.

		rehearse rehearse rehearse
he is my shadow &
                that was my girlhood, my careening

first life. my second life is green: radioactive.
it swoons, forgetful, in the weak light
of the 	Hollywood 	sign, our horizontal crucifix.

you can watch us pray, but buddy, have I got news
for you: you cannot know me. I am story, action, gunshot,
						      unnamed.

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