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Stunning as a stevedore
                            in stolen evening wear – sharp creased trousers, a monocle –
                                                                      you trip up the stairs, lighter
               than hair, surrounded by bathing-suit beauties,
lemon yellow chiffon
                                      chicks, who synchronize
                                                  their swim around your every move –

what you were afraid would happen did.

Those of us still living
                                        remember your Melbourne Shuffle,
a rapid step and glide,
              as if the world were frictionless
                              and swept clean of all those
                                        minor people.

Now every night you twirl
                         your cane and thrust it
               forward to the audience, who oooooo
                                                          at your American Smooth –
but I’ve upset you.

Here, muddle this mint in rum, let the oils
                            coat your tongue in numb
                                                                      forget –

disregard this little earful,
                                          and instead let me be your backup
                              dancer, to be pressed
               to the wall in your dressing room –
                                                       my petals crushed –
                              once more, with feeling.

Posted 08/08/11
Previously published in Phoebe: A Journal of Arts and Letters, Spring 2011.
Books by Rebecca Hazelton
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