Orchids at the Stage Door

          For Nadya Ginsburg—

                    i.

Some Sodomites and I dragging as Lot’s wife
in some ribald biblical pantomime, wasting talent and
time in some watering hole outside of town,
in the hot, hot heat of a dark
desert beyond Sunset, far from the martini shot
crowd, away from any signs of life, any
streetlights, a pack of wild chicas packing heat
in cheetah print, wild bitches lit only from
above like Dietrich, wearing neon halos as our
crowns, glowing smoke rings circling like coutured vultures
of sin fresh from the Viper Room descending,
sent in by some Angels trying to snatch
our wigs, hawk-eyed fiends evil-eyeing us bald, queening-out

                    ii.

we make like her and misjudge in its
chiffon’s off-white, couleur crème our vanity as pure
as the snow powdering our noses, as flawless
and sure as the blending of our beaten
faces’ cheap cheekbone contours, look over our shoulders
as we go onstage in a storm to
perform for a crowd of one soldier, who
is either another lost soul or only here
on some obscure order he surely misinterpreted, and,
before turning to salt, struck frozen in one
pose, cursed forever for beholding what we were
boldly told to forego, as we look back
at our track record, locking arms, prayer-circling without

                    iii.

regard or concern for this Narcissism we cannot
cure, going soft, we chorus in silent retrospect
a tacit anthem, a brass-lamp torch-song we mull
over with lip-synced words and pull-off in spite
of our Selves, white-knuckling our mics faking courage,
for the privileged glimpse of which we charge,
vamping and giving face imploring our lord for
one more load of manna, to send it
from heaven in the warm handfuls of an
honest man we can call our own, under
whose caftan ours can wander and take turns
holding to our hearts that part of him
he shows no one else, but sure enough,

                    iv.

averse to prayer for far too long (the
real deal, not what we put on), immersed
in fame, unrehearsed in faith’s ritual, together our
knees weaken in their final bending, breaking as
if from the weight of anticipating, but unwilling
to offer, an encore, and we fall, we
fragile, glassy-eyed, porcelain gals whose girdles flatter our
feigned forms no more, shook and sore to
discover, in the shock of the moment’s pouring
forth of pent-up emotions, that, whether ever-virgin or
always-a-whore, god is a woman waiting with orchids
at the stage door, teaching us to slay,
laying it down with wit sharper than swords.