He told her how he’d like
to take her toes, tear them off,
paint the inside of caves
with the blood-oozing stubs,

how he’d like to take her
to the Louvre, where there
is La Pieta, and countless
Madonnas, and there she is –
whore with painted nails.

She cried, a sick-sweet sobbing,
then there was the chemical smell of acetone,
as if she could sit on the edge of the tub
and wipe away with a cotton ball
all that’s wrong with her.

The bath was running, then full.
He went in, turned down the
thick silver leaver, let the water start
to drain, said

Now lay there,
Pretend you’re in Paris.
Pretend you’re pretty.


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