These are crazy times. Your muse's hands
clutch, scored and smarting,
round a stolen slice of bread and dripping.
Her handbag, sequined silver, spills Max Factor,
banknotes bundled tight to fire the stove.
She is never quite in frame; the camera loves
the butterfly she seems, in motion always,
bright, escaping reach. In black and white
her mouth shines crimson.
Here in color, stark quicksilver light,
the lipstick fades; her smile's rough edges
catch against your teeth.
She stands, in your best-darned stockings,
and whispers at your throat: it's early yet.
Pasteboard streets stand empty.
Quiet on the set.