Bonnie and Clara and Clyde

Momma found pictures of me and Clara—

daguerreotypes taken at the fair.

It came to town on my sixteenth birthday,

and I went in a top hat and Papa’s slacks,

kissed Clara on the cheek the whole time it took

for the film to develop,

(it took a long time).

Momma was livid when she saw them,

those pictures of me and of Clara.

‘A married woman!’ she said.

But I wasn’t married back then.

And I told her as much, and I told her about Clara,

about candy floss and my sixteenth year.

But it didn’t matter.

Wasn’t true even—

I’d been married since the day I popped out of Mama,

married since the day Momma popped out of her Momma.

‘I love Clyde too,’ I told her.

But that made things worse.

Momma ripped the photo, ripped apart Clara and me.

Maybe she couldn’t understand Bonnie and Clara.

Maybe only Bonnie and Clyde made any real sense,

or maybe it was the quantity of it all,

of Bonnie and Clara and Bonnie and Clyde:

after all, too much love makes a woman hysterical.

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