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.

From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday