Linette Marie Allen
Was bathed in frankincense
wet with piano, not Lizst
not Chopin, but Webern—
at the height of romance? I drew
my knees, ignored black mustache,
cloud-split curtains, mirrors ricocheting
light from collapsed stars. When
the bell rang, I jumped, drew
circles in the water, bright as tigers, bright
as bombs, whiffs of cigar. Bothered not
by tall voices teeming, I soaped,
imagined just how hard it must ache
to want, dear Pleiades,
—to be a star.
Author’s Commentary: My poem “Dear Pleiades, I” was inspired by the starlets of the 1920s who wanted so badly to be in the movies, to be on the “big screen.” I imagined what that hunger must have been like, the challenges internally and externally, the moral and psychological implications of certain scenes amidst a backdrop of glamour and decadence, and I desired to capture a snapshot on paper—of an actress writing in her diary, perhaps, or simply writing herself a private poem.
Linette Marie Allen is earning an MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore. She is the recipient of a 2018 Turner Research and Travel Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Notre Dame Review, Blue Moon Literary & Arts Review, and elsewhere.