Oracle, 36th and Lex

She refuses to work with gold lamé

because it falls through her fingers in tiny gold threads

that bunch on the cutting-room floor. It’s terrible stuff, of course,

but the girl is red in the face, her mother insisting

it’s her color, the color. It’s a color, she replies. But they’ve come

from way, way outside the city, bled

their blood to get here, and she’s closing in half

an hour? Fifteen minutes, really. It’s a color, we have pots

and mummy jars full, we turn it into urine,

make urine out of it,

the girl, growing redder, flounces away,

all ruffles and sateen,

the air outside purple with toxins, But you came so highly

recommended, stuttering, the vultures circling, meanwhile,

higher then lower, So highly, she repeats,

nearly in tears, mascara flowing in a river black as eel’s skin. A rush job,

but she didn’t complain, teeth

falling out onto the carpet, No, it’s perfection and all,

all out of viscera—but not too much, you see,

or it falls apart.

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