Lesley Wheeler

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Sigh Like Twig the Wonder Kid

A party tonight with real boys—who needs trouble?
Better the problems of representing shadow.
Snap of static when fingers meet vinyl, then
the amplified hush as needle meets its groove.
Better to ponder freakishness, whether
the green eye wants what the brown foresees. His tenor
founders on the bridge and she can’t breathe,
as if she’s in love, or gazing in the mirror.

Meanwhile she fixes Bowie’s sheen in oils,
learning his rouged mouth’s quirks. Not the glam
rock waif who streaked a lightning bolt across
his face, not the corn-pale padded suit of cynical
1983, but Changes Two,
the wet look. Nothing set. Nothing dry.
Ruffled bedspread; sting of turpentine.
Plaid uniform skirt; her paint-swirled smock.
She mixes a bruised hue to smudge around
his eye as cadmium washes from the sky.

She applies so little pigment the fibers
of the canvas show. A famished child,
a reckless thing, she knows how costumes sink
into the skin. That voice is forever. Yet she claws
up fishnets, finds her cobalt ankle-boots.
An ink-and-mustard mini, some Dippity-Doo.
Ground Control could learn a thing or two.

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