The Fallen Angel

by Maurya Simon

One more tithe to the altar of seductions:
a rose tattoo on her rotund rump, and for that
she’s lifted her dress, tucks a round of bills
into her sequinned G-string, her lips pursed.
As she bends down to unfasten her garter,
the golden clump of hairs on her pubis points
its damp goatee to a breathless audience—
singed, the balding insurance salesman,
scalded, the Vietnam vet amputee wringing
his empty sleeve like it’s the enemy’s throat,
stricken, the barmaid who’s seen it all before,
but who’s in love with the star of Vixens Galore.
Haloed by cigaret smoke, the stripper moves now
as if traversing a slow dream—her blue dress
a silken sheen, a diaphanous mist thinly clinging
to her body—reptilian, sultry, she pulls her palms
and silvered fingers around her swollen breasts;
she sways to the silent baying of the hounds,
to the groundswell of heartbeats and tambourines;
she shimmies her cobalt hem waistward, and now
she ploughs her hands down until her fingertips
touch and tender that dew-spangled curl of flesh—
and she is moaning softly now, her violet eyes shut,
her chin tilted back like a flask of champagne
ready to exhale its evanescent song, her lips
swollen open, a mirror image to her flushed sex:
she is taken up in ecstasy, her spine arching back—
as if by invisible wings she’s being drawn away
from the heaving men, their minds aflame, burning
like molten coils, their desire the oil-rich fuel
igniting her return to God.

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