Dear Pleiades, I

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.


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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.