Jacqueline Kari is the author of The Book of Tell (dancing girl press) and Litel Myn Tragedye (forthcoming on Birds of Lace). Her poems, translations and visual art have appeared in Action Yes, Tarpaulin Sky, RealPoetik and elsewhere. She lives, studies and makes Montessori curriculum materials in Athens, GA.
DUMB BRONDES (a dumbshow)
The Haute Boys play; the Dumb Brondes enter.
Enter a sister and two, very sweetly: they clasp sweaty and gibe hands.
The younger’s hair ribbons knot and spin streamers around the May pole;
the older whistles a tune out her teeth.
Girls in white dance as the Haute Boys scream. Dumb Brondes reach up
their dresses and smear blood on their faces.
She becks and her sister tumbles obliging, laughing down the hall of trees.
Sister lays her down bony on a bank of flowers.
Sisters fall fast asleep.
Darkness shrouds the wood; the silver river gleams.
Anon comes in the Devil, draws back the curtain of hair and whispers
poison in her ear.
Little sister’s eyelids flutter; blood cakes in her makeup. The Devil watches
from the banks.
Sister bites her finger and paints a smile on sister’s lips.
She smiles back.
She gags and plunges her into the river; sister protests: flopping and
thrashing, then still.
The Moon floats beside her in the river.
The Drowner crawls up the bank to rejoin the Devil.
She removes his dull crown and, kissing it, crowns herself.
He unzips her.
The party resumes.
The Drowner, with two or three of the Haute Boys, performs a noir love
Breathing shallowly, the Prince looks on; they encircle him and he enters at
the climactic moment.
The flames reach up the night sky.
Semen spatters the ground.
The Drowner rents her veil and gifts him a cup of river water, bubbled with
blood and ice.
He closes his eyes and drinks.
The Dumb Brondes emerge from the river muddy and hissing, nails
sharpened to talons. The dead body is carried in. They dance with the
Girls drape garlands of flowers over her.
Clumsily elegant, the Dead Sister dances, reaching for stars and arching her
She throws her head back.
Dog roses bloom out her stomach.
She reaches for her sister: fingers in her mouth, flowering open.
Her smile widens.
Swaying, the Dead Sister falls bodily on her killer.
They collapse together.
She bore her to the ground.
The party frenzies, fucks, spills its fluids; the Moon beams down.
Enraptured, the Prince and the Devil crown the Queen of May.
To read more of Litel Myn Tragedye, pre-order it via Birds of Lace’s 2016 Kickstarter campaign.