23 March 2012

Curriculum Vitae by Alissa Valles

I was born in mid-winter.
A bird obscured the sun.
It was a public holiday:
rubbish stood uncollected
in the streets of the capital.
Soldiers sat smoking
around mountain fires.
My mother wore red,
the doctors wore white,
my father came running.
My education proper
began when my uncle
fell into my room, nude
but for a tumbler of whiskey.
I kissed his knees and feet.
From then on, it was one
mad success after another:
the first of my sex allowed to
do rifle training, prizes
in ethnic understanding.
An artist I posed for said
a woman worth painting
looks clumsy in a dress.
At graduation, I recited
and I long and yearn
bringing tears to many eyes.
I believe I am suitable for
the position of his majesty’s
concubine for several reasons.
I rarely speak: since I left
school, I’ve spoken only
to decline marriage offers.
I rarely weep: once, when
my son was taken away.
It’s said the emperor likes
games of flight and pursuit.
If I may say so, without
being thought immodest,
I’m an accomplished prey.

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