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The Jazz Singer

By Athena Melliar

In shrouds and shrouds of smoke a silhouette

is made manifest walking with her hips,

puffs at her holder, wears a briolette 

drilled tourmaline ring grey and green, and lips

her dress with every step causing a rose 

cascade of silk over curves. The eclipse

enclosed tonight full moons, left holes — their pose

of darkness. Eyes back at her band as she 

makes her way on the stage; her dress billows 

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ enough to expose

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ her skin underneath

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀(she limns out The West Wind).

‘Tu du tu du tu du du,’ her song’s key

she is scat singing; on canvas of night

she is moon painting her own fantasy.

‘My eyes light up

when I’m at the club.

I’m with my band and the regulars come by.

And, you see, I’ve made up my mind;

you call me a rouée because I don’t want to be your wife.

Do turn around, look over here!

You call me a woman of the night.

Oh, boy, you are the worst I’ve ever seen.

The night’s all mine.

Night’s all mine.

Here’s not your wife.

Not your wife.’

The West Wind is a white marble statue carved in 1870s by the American sculptor Thomas Ridgeway Gould in Florence, Italy.

Athena Melliar is a feminist poet and essayist. Her work has appeared in Rhythm & Bones, LEVELER, Memoir Mixtapes, So to Speak: a feminist journal of language & arts, Moonchild Magazine, The Light Ekphrastic, The Mystic Blue Review, and other literary publications. She has been profiled in Maudlin House. Twitter: @AthenaMelliar , Instagram: athenamelliar

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