There’s blood on the stage.
I put it there, last night,
you should have seen it — 
I wore the gown you made me and I was
glittering above the dying lights
like a jewel, its edges chipped and sharp,
on an old forgotten necklace,
like an oil slick — 
the stage manager says
he won’t invite me back to perform
but I’ve had my fill, although there was no encore;
this crowd is bloodless and white
an eternal audience that cannot
whisper those things under their breath,
the things that make their eyes shift hazily
beneath their lids, knowing tha my heartbeat
has disappeared, fled far, beating its wings
against the ceiling
as they come closer, calling me their 
whore, their girl,
their little ballerina
turning round in an old jewelry box,
as their thumbnails rip my new stockings
and they keep saying they shouldn’t tell
what they’re thinking
but their jagged dirty nails
tell me enough
and tonight I gathered them all
sent them invitations on pressed flowers
told them to leave the wives
home,
wear their best opera gloves, shine
their glasses on the handkerchief this time,
not the edge of their shirt
and they all jostled in the grand entrance for a chance
to hear my retribution,
my heart still hovering, lost,
somewhere in the ceiling
there’s blood on the stage
and I put it there
my mother taught me to go gently
in all things
even in tearing out the throats
of beasts

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