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Marlene Deitrich At 70 Had Legs That Shot To Heaven

Kirsten Kaschock

Her eyes at 70 said, I’ve never cared at all. 

When she sang, it was
to dance.  She was consummate.

Practice, practice, and being paid to die.  She had
all I’ve ever wanted.

Her gestapo posture in Vegas, the night
I was born.  I saw it all on A&E.

She sang about spring that night and it was about death.
She smiled, and death.

She tucked a curl of an obvious wig back
into place and it was death.

I was born on the last gasp of her glittering
shroud, although she didn’t die until she was 90.

She was motionless when she danced it in Vegas
the night of my birth.  Her hands clasped behind her.

To dance the death dance, to wrap
the black shawl

around my waist, twirl, shoulders, twirl, face, 
is all I have ever been given to want.

In a few turns death rises
to make beauty.  Look— they say

See the pale face, the blood-weary
lips seeking blue.

I will be her with the silk fringe on the edge
of edge.  Heel, toe.

Stomp.  Pull.                  Drag.     Fall
and rise.

They will ask— How
many times is it possible to rise?

Elbows turned out, palms to ceiling,
and balanced on each painful finger— particular death.

Make no mistake, she is a witch—
they will say— see how she dances.

Marlene let it be filmed.  I will not
let it be filmed. 

I will not hand over this dance to another
girl, born to it—

bloody come and strangling to this world.

Kirsten Kaschock

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