A Lament for Margot
There was not one second,
not one tiny sliver of a moment
when I didn’t think you were beautiful.
You, among the trims of taffeta,
the trails of incandescent pearls.
You, standing in the center,
an army of white gowns encircling you,
their hollow forms protecting you
from the embedded ignorance of fixed eyes,
weeping for the womanhood rotting within you,
crying trains of chiffon and lace.
For they would always be the beginning
and you, always, always the end.
You slipped into two or three
and in the last one you surrendered
without a rhinestone tear.
It wasn’t yours.
Your appointment was simply over.
No swath of satin would ever compare
to your freckled skin
that had been made pocked and brittle
as the pages of an ancient manuscript,
barely adhering to its bindings.
No fabric ever whiter than your bald head
and why shouldn’t they look?
Why shouldn’t they drink you in?
I never cared about which
empty white warrior suit got the honor.
You were the bride,
naked and boney and hollow.
You were love and death
and an entire life’s worth of fortune
in twenty four short years.
At the end, you pressed your palm to his.
The words leaked out
while the sun crept down into its cerulean grave.
He held you with every imaginary scrap of strength
as you danced your first, your last.
It was only a show for them
to give them some misplaced sense of closure.
You looked into his eyes but once.
You had already said goodbye to each other
in a way only lovers can.
And then, some months later
after you’d gone,
it was my turn to see you,
to watch you, to mourn you
in a hotel room in Tallahassee.
And you were beautiful for every dream lost,
for every toss and every turn,
for every red illuminated minute that blinked by.
Even when you were horrible,
even when your shoulders bucked up
out of that white uniform that was too heavy now,
even when your eyes had been painted too smoky
to hide the death,
even when you wouldn’t look him in the eye,
because a second goodbye isn’t as real as the first.
It was the humid air and the shadow of your smile
that kept sleep away
I called my lover and forbade him to die.