Volume 31, Number 3

The Empress (reversed)

Are you beautiful? We have no choice
but to hesitate; the wrong answer
is disaster, though for whom is still
up in the air. Your scars with the agency
of hounds, erinyes, those bastard
freemasons who always stood
on the corner and catcalled every skunk
who went by; the result, you always
said, being that now you can’t find
a way to eat pizza that doesn’t involve
a fork. Say what you will, those midday
naps seem to show marked improvement,
but the hospice still calls and asks when
we estimate you’ll need a reservation
on a drawer at the morgue, and whether
they can upsell us to the vinyl,
or even the pink glitter. We ask them
for the number of the national do not call
list, and they respond—correctly—that
it would be ridiculous for the do-not-call
list to have a telephone number.
Are you beautiful? The width
of your mouth says yes, yes indeed.

—Robert Beveridge