In Donghai county in China, they hire
strippers for funerals.  We're not Chinese,
not even close, but here's the money.
Make them tall and looming and unlike me.

Stain their lips the color of mulberry,
spin their hips with the twist and reel of curls
unfurling.  Give them hair the yellow
of wild silk, smuggled with off-white eggs.

Have them dance, patinaed pennies on
each eye, shiny quarters on their nipples.
No linen princesses here, heavy silver
dollars nested in their woven vees,

perfect triangles refracting light to eyes.
Let my enemies say I've forgiven
an eyeful.  Let my friends say how I
was never this pretty or smart in real life.

I will watch, cocooned, waiting in the wings.
They will take it all off:
shimmering from their perfect-fit skins
to spin their flesh around waists like scarves.  
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