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constellations of girls in red

Kristy Bowen

Eight o’clock and we open
our skirts, our rumpled lace.
Black gloved in the wings,

passing cigarettes and flirting
with the pianist. Night
folds me like a doll into a dress,

lusting for copper, chocolate,
whatever I can bite down
on. I am especially attuned

to wrists, the rehearsal
within the rehearsal.
Floorboard creak and fire hazard.

The soloist offers me
a jug of wine, a catbird.
Can do a trick with flying

that puts the aerialist to
shame. Mechanics, she says,
all pulleys and wires.

There’s a crumpled dollar
in my pocket, three gallons
of salt water in the larder.

Her music box plays something
that sounds like Wagner.
My hair tangles in her paper fan.

Kristy Bowen

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