Fashionably Late

The anniversary of my death
was commemorated with a fold-out
section in a fashion magazine.
My breasts were bound with a pink chiffon scarf tied
in an enormous bow between my slender shoulders.
My lips, wet and cherry red, floated
like a lotus on the etiolate image of my face,
and on the pages that trailed behind the glossy picture
laid the story of how I found
a way to slake the pressure to be beautiful at any cost.
“She had grit,” described the words,
defending any question of my courage.
“There was no note,” the article proclaimed,
omitting any reference to the blood-stained contract on my table.
And in conclusion solemn words declared, “she had a promising career.”

I traced, with ghostly fingers, the tribute
pressed like a leaf in Volume Six, Issue Forty-One
and only now I saw I was so young,
too late to undo what had been done,
in a single act of blind defiance
I’d bound myself and my life’s promise
to a casket lined with pink chiffon

— Pam, 2010