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Melinda Giordano



The Sun King was dead

Yet when they cut off the Marquise’s hair

She was standing in the center

Of a sunburst of rough cuttings

Her habit de court had become a burlap gown

And manacles replaced her ornaments

No icons or escutcheons

Would decorate her with the respect

Of a soft introduction

Ever again


Outside the brothel elite

Were sequestered with their barbers

Discussing the shape of their hair

To make a halo of tight curls

Knotted around their necks were strips of scarlet silk

To taunt the harvest of the gentry

A bloodless tattoo to mock  

The judgement day that waited in the sky

Hovering like Damocles’ sword

The sharp, final gasp

The Invitation


The dead seagull lay huddled in the rocks

Its head curved beneath its wings

In a solemn, moribund prayer

The air pricked at its feathers as if the bird still lived

And could feel the salty, impudent fingers


Nature tried to interrupt the corpse’s devotions:

The air, the ocean

Refused to let the deceased blood,

The slowly evaporating DNA

Disperse amongst the shoreline’s lonely cathedrals


I did not take a photograph of the body

To create a memory of its sadness

But the grief stays with me:

Of the soft creature prodded by the wind

Inviting it to join its salty ranks once more

Poor Parure


Poor parure

Torn from the vintage sinews

Of its platinum nest

Its Art Noveau coils

No longer resting on an ethereal bosom

And a subtle flesh

Atrophied with privilege


Pawned and brokered

Placed in the system

The foster home

Of velvet trays

Retrieved to settings sparse and unsentimental

To rest on the bones

Of the modern girl

Summer Skin


The thick and golden light

A stagnant sweet

Like turgid honey

Slow as candy

Pours onto my sticky skin


Clenched like a fist in the sky

The feverish sun

The familiar star

With febrile whim

Bruises my skin with its cruel caprice


Burning creativity

Architectural heat

Dimensional air

Sculpting the days

Varnishing my skin with sweat


Between birth and harvest

The curve of light

Radiant saber

Is piercing the sky

And blistering my skin


But with the dark equinox

The alchemy pales

I grip the shadows

And pull them towards me

To wrap around my weathered skin

Poor Parure
Summer skin
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