Marie Antoinette Performs la Toilette du Matin
How hungrily she snatches
at my royal chemise, the Comtesse de Provence,
and pins the dripping thing to a line
woven from lineage and ink.
At night I've been holding these dances
where we drink too much and mask ourselves
in velvet and feathers and sweat and flirt because
I don't know how to quell hunger or draw down rain.
I spend the rest of my life in a jewelry case, swaddled
in pastel crinolines like a
Thiebaud . . . such disconnection;
after all, what roots us? If it isn't objects
it must be people or history—
Here in the palace the weight of centuries
bows our necks like a wig made out of lead.
The morning lifts its curtain on a sea of strewn
wrappers, crumbs, shoes—
To live in our century is to lay waste.
A froth of bottles and bags; the chambermaid dances a jig
to invisible strings.
Miranda Gaw writes from Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in Sybil's Garage, Goblin Fruit, Kaleidotrope, Cabinet des Fees, Sawbuck, and the Swarthmore Review.