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I am invited but refuse
Marie Antoinette’s bright guillotine,
eschewing half-julienned radishes and pearly spuds.
I have a need of fingers and thumbs.

This was someone’s wedding gift,
a menace to the ring finger, bobbing incarnadine
(a twitch of gold in a soapy basin).

And how could she hold Love’s hand, all innocent,
when no longer as Love made her.

My Versailles is introspect and silk garden.
Bad guest that I am,
I withdraw to mild candle lighting,
flustered even when wind snuffs out blue sparks.

Let me pleat, then, the linen napkins
under the pergola creamed in a lilac breeze.

Sweet Marie kept cunning mandolines throughout her rooms,
brushing rumor’s shattered glass under royal tapis—
blood thirst I have none.

The player of the mandoline sweeps a finger
along the incline plane to strum a plaintive note.

No proof that Monsieur J.-A. Guillotin
brainstormed a miniature replica.
Spurious as vegetal babies, mon petit chou?

Kitchen instrument, I do fear thee.


Carol Alexander is the author of the poetry collections Environments (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and Habitat Lost (Cave Moon Press). Her chapbook Bridal Veil Falls is published by Flutter Press. Alexander’s poems appear in a variety of anthologies and journals, most recently Belletrist, Bluestem, Cumberland River Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, One, Southern Humanities Review and Third Wednesday. 

© 2019, Carol Alexander

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