ALL THREE ACTS OF A SAD PLAY
PERFORMED ENTIRELY IN BED

Julie Larios

Act One

They both know it’s silly.
Lily and Lyle are hot
but not riveted—it’s just
lust, not love, so Lyle blows
his solo horn while little
Lily longs for strings,
sings a long verse with no refrains.
Too bad,
again:
no violins for Lily.

Act Two

Lily and Lyle are beastly
but so what?
That’s the nature of the beast.
Lily’s bored, Lyle’s in a rut,

what’s really
new? Nothing under the sun.
Even Lyle’s rutting bores Lily,
since Lyle’s not having any fun.

No new moon under the sun
shines like Lily-being-nobody-under-Lyle,
Lyle’s fire is done for now, run
into the ground like nobody’s business. Still,

nobody under Lily and Lyle
(and nobody above them) is less or more measly,
nobody’s ground further down. Hell,
Lily and Lyle are fine. They’re just beastly.



Act Three

Most nights, her new and numerous lovers
discover an old presence in Lily’s bed,

they head beneath the covers and find
Lyle’s ghost with its ghostly hands

philandering all over and under Lily’s white
nightgown as she dreams, grinning.

From beginning to end, it’s always been
a tendency of hers to enjoy Lyle most

in ghost form, to indulge him fondly
if beyond the pale. Lily thinks of Lyle

while seducing and bedding
deadheads in need of few complications.

Patience not being one of their larger virtues,
the new lovers depart wholeheartedly,

hardly interested, leaving Lyle’s ghost
playing host to Lily’s dozing hostess.

Most messy, this. But love
enough for Lily.

 

Julie Larios worked for five years as Senior Contributing Editor at The Cortland Review. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The Atlantic Monthly, The Threepenny Review, ZYZZYVA, Field, Ploughshares and Margie. Read more of her poetry at Octopus Magazine. Harcourt will be bringing out her third book of poetry for children in the spring of 2006.

 

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