Marilyn Monroe's death
There was a beating in the doorway
as if wings were trapped
in the bright red nest of her mouth.
My mother, clutching a duster,
held her breath, walking forward
through the shocked room, in which autumn
littered the carpet.
She smoothed her hands on her hips.
Outside, and through the glass,
our neighbour mimed
terrible tongues. The stammers
were ripping her lips.
Their words were skivvies
working a frightful shift. Their gasps
sucked all breath from the morning
and turned into art.
Stars are important. A child
learns to be dizzy, but only when
death is inconsequential,
a horror lodged
in daily, impossible gossip.