He was a paisano on the same boat
which brought us to Ellis Island.
He died from tuberculoses.
I grew old in the factory breathing fumes.
I was the girl with auburn hair and burnt sienna eyes,
hiding inside a theatre with Betty Grable reels playing
on the silent screen, the star of David wrapped around
my neck as he was shot and fell backwards
his dog tags kissing his forehead and lost among the sunflowers
off the coast of Italy. He is holding his rifle high above
his head in Nam. He stops for a moment. For a second.
For a millisecond to think of me as a bullet escapes from
the Viet Cong and penetrates right through his temples
as it carries the memory of me with it.
He is a Dandy in Paris.
His cane is whisking by to a melody.
I am the whore he leaves his wife for every night.
He is a knight fighting for the Crusades.
I am a Moorish girl who steals his heart and the holy grail.
He is standing next to a painting.
He is someone I once knew.
And just like that with what seemed like 15 minutes of fame,
all the artwork went up in flames.
A cough is heard in the distance.