poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

Blog Archive

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cosmetic Lead

Kitty Fisher killed herself killed herself in the 18th century
with strychnine pills she took to be paler
than the most subtle moon.

Her portrait up there with all those old Astor’s
is a warning to those who would be famous
for being the most white.

To get a darker tan in the sun,
the man takes off his tee-shirt
and reveals a cross tattoo that covers

his spine and wing-span. There,
an unlovely Jesus sweats blood.
“Three new Thai restaurants

on the same block,” says the man
with that famous old Jesus riding his back.
He smiles, “It’s all that rice.

In all five boroughs, man. I seen it.
Bitches love rice.” Kitty Fisher could have used
crushed-up rice powder on her face

instead of ingesting cosmetic lead.
Maybe he’s right, about most women, just not Kitty Fisher—
that bitch did not love rice enough.