Letter from Marielle
(woman in forefront of Lautrec’s Salon de la Rue des Moulins)
My dear Henri, I am back at home now--
my hair grown out black again,
Spanish falling from my lips, rat-a-tat and crisp,
no more the slurry honey of French.
How well I remember Madame
as she sat in her violet frock,
her neck covered primly,
thinking of francs and sous.
And we girls, draped across lounges,
waiting silver-fleshed, our shoulders hinting,
waiting to be bought,
to slowly pull down those black stockings,
to spread our legs,
smiling, cooing, crying out oui, ah dieu, oui
while all the time we went to some other place--
for me, the golden fields of pampas.
But you too moved through the streets pretending--
pretending you were not stunted, pretending
you were striding across the cobblestones.
That is why you loved my silky arms,
murmured to them,
felt the length of my unbowed legs,
called them your bien amie.
And when you and I coupled together
I could cry in my own tongue,
I could cry for your dear deformed body.
And you would cry, your tears falling on my cheeks
as you, entering me, were made whole,
side by side— as tall, as hung, as any man.
Madame thinking that for us,
it was about the coins and cunt.
You and I knowing it was
we found ourselves
over and over again.
Carol Siemering has been published in a number of publications including the Artword Quarterly, the Anthology of Unitarian Poets, Unlocking the Poem, and the Worcester Review. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
The Ekphrastic Review
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