She’s not a bad person, really
caring about all the surfaces
protecting her pride from the upwardly mobile
cradling her daughter’s whims
perfectly as a crepe de chine afternoon dress
wafting perfume through a crush of superfluous flounces
under womanly hips,
the tender folds all riding up.
A pony and grand piano childhood
singing lessons and polo with your ex
you could have saved her just by saying no
Rejected by the finest maestro in California
scorning her tripping fingers with the blunt
sensation of a closing lip nearly crushing her knuckles
she’s sobbing in the courtyard
prostrate over tangling vines and Spanish stucco
if she can’t be the best who can she be?
Taking up with the fast crowd
a mink hanging over her receding figure,
she’s smoking with casting agents
shaking down the heir to a director’s fortune
California’s finest flashing their badges on a morals charge.
Pictures, how wonderful darling!
Carrying pies and waffles across the diner,
Mildred is sensually engaged,
as much as under Monte’s caresses
sunlight sweeping over the decaying grandeur
of the family pile while they stand in the corner
naked, tiffany lamps swatching the mahogany of late afternoon.
Veda blossoms into a radio coloratura,
Lakme floating through the seaside steakhouse
arresting the plebeian throng –
a snake so beautiful she stops traffic
returning in triumph to drain her mother’s resources
a coup de gras to beat the drab torture of suburban Glendale.
Bickering over the adornments
to reflect adulation as a diaphanous mirror
she will have all the accessories or nothing at all.
In the stalls,
Mildred glimpses familiar contortions through opera glasses
taken aback by the raw viciousness in her daughter’s face
a strident note alongside the perfect trills.
In the end she throws herself after Veda’s car
you can’t ever come back here, no way!
she is howling in the road
her guests spilling out of the wedding party