Portrait of Dotty as an Elton John Song

by Ally Covino

      The forecast for tomorrow’s empty sky
Is Valhalla, so I am stripping down to painted
Fingers, writing these postcards from a tinderbox:
      Where to now that I am cold as a whipping?
Bite my lips, maybe. Get up and dance
As if I were still that tiny dancer in hard shanks
And ribbon.     I finally found the porch swing wind—
More enjoyable than mangled toes. Must
Have lost it in the medleys of funk and feed me.
       I’ve only ever been the piano player of my manias.
But, I will build a scaffolding of hymns, make
Roost with electric-bus line pigeons.         Will you
Have mercy on this criminal if she is a high-flying
Bird with bones that disobey?      This dirty water.
This diving board. This candlelit act of war.
      I might be a teenager forever.      Bernie was
A Rocket Man, my elderberry Hercules. But,
Since he’s been gone, bullet seems to be
The only word—having discovered candy-
By-the-pound.      I may not be able to tell the bottom
Of a glass from home, but please don’t let the soldiers
Eclipse on me.      I believe in the latitude of waltzes.
      I will sweat it out and sing duets as one.
      I am a powder puppet, but believe in coming down
In time to book a room at a Holiday
Inn for the weekend.      I’m sorry your song
Has too many titles.      I’m sorry I always packed
Rotten peaches and cold cuts for your lunch.

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