Anne Marie Rooney



When Miss Prolific Left

I wrote love letters in silver. Many girls
loved me. In my dreams I was Dorothy,
dancing with eunuchs. I was at a loss
for soup ingredients. I was not alone
in my listlessness. All stars closed.

I became unknown. Streetlights opened
in my presence. The pavement went all gold
and wobbly. I followed a cloud
of smoke down a dark alley.
I drowned every daddy

long legs. Mainly girls loved me.
I dreamt I was Dorothy, lost
in a deck. I slept
on white porches where my name
meant nothing. I bought an airplane.



My Date with James Dean

Of course, we went to the water. He drove me
to the ocean and we sat staring at his face,
reflected in it. I mean, both of us stared—
It was that beautiful, poisoning
the mirrored evening with its golden
something. I came to think of his face,
that night, as divorced from everything
around us. The air smelled like cigarettes
and salt. Starfish molted their spiny plumes.
Even as he anchored his fingers to my thigh
his face was elsewhere, tangling with mermaids,
spinning red algae from their invisible middles.
I knew when its open part touched mine
that I could never really have James Dean,
that he would never kiss my neck. He drove me
mad that evening, kissing my neck.





Monterey, with snakes

The man with no name took me by the hand
to where last year the green juniper stopped
growing. I was not sad but pretended to be.
He took me for an innocent.
He took my tears in his and started to sing.
All around us, the bees joined chorus.
I could feel the clipped roots begin
to end. The naked dirt lifted its back to mine.
We made love. There were no snakes,
because there are no snakes in California.





I'm Darth Vader / I know what I'm made of

An evil evil woman. A kind woman. A woman
like a tongue. Forked. Serpentine. This is
familiar. So bring your aisles and dark ministers.
So when I ask for a cigarette give me

a cigarette. Do it. Do it. I am a crusader.
Do it like a calibur. I do it like I already know.
Like I'm coming, tied like this, like Circe, oh shit,
I said it, the witch. I'm not your mother I'm

your father. I'm your father's rough mouth.
I'm your father's rough mouth on your mother's
rough legs. She's a feminist.
I'm a washer woman with a big fat story.

My sister was a harpy. So what. I'm a devil
shot straight from the island. As if the ocean
ever kept me. As if his crowing waves were enough.
I kept them at bay, I did and kept doing