Skeleton, Shop Mannequin
I’d like to have one of each:
the plastic skeleton I shook
hands with when the surgeon left the room
a mannequin carried fireman’s hoist through the street.
I’d have them both in the same room
the white plaster mannequin with feet
fastened to a base, the skeleton
since it can dance, dangling
by the open window whose net curtain
threatens to clothe it with the lightest bandage.
I’d dress the mannequin differently for each season
and for the skeleton I’d buy a hat
and a black bowtie with polka dots.
One wired and flexible hand could hold a cane.
Where would they go for a date
for the skeleton to play Grand Guignol
the mannequin to sip a martini
wearing yards of scarves and furs, opera
gloves and a jewelled cigarette holder?
At the end of the evening they would embrace
as he saw her into a taxi and got in
himself, into the back seat. ‘I don’t
take bones,’ the taxi driver would say.
‘You need flesh first,’ the mannequin would say.