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Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This poem is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May - June 2019.

Three Poems Lisa Kelly
Ossuary

Arrête! C’est ici l’empire de la Mort

In the queue for the Catacombs only the cold
and cursing the kids for cajoling me into this
is keeping the contents of my guts from spilling.
Behind, two German teenagers cram croissants
into their mouths, and ahead the undead     
count out coins for entry into the underworld,
one-at-a-tortuous time down the spiral stairwell
we will eventually reach, just as I will eventually
retch in my hotel bathroom.

For now, I contemplate this world of stone and bone,
the colour of maggots, relieved only by green mould
on a stacked skull. I know I can spill my guts later,
not down here with the crosses and inscriptions,
so long as I keep walking, the putting of one foot in front
of another taking on the pace of prayer – a prayer
for escape my mother-in-law didn’t share, happy
to hear sirens and clasp her classmates in the shelter
of the grave, not just with the skulls, as she said,
but with the tibia and fibula, swapping one lesson
in biology for another as the bombs dropped
and created a longer queue for a burial chamber.



The Haute Schiaparelli

Hold onto your shoe hat cowgirl, we’re in for a bumpy ride
when Elsa scents her spray. ‘Light the way to ecstasy’,
the strapline for Sleeping bottled in a crystal candlestick.

Our Elsa had wild ideas and was not one to be tamed.
Cattle Empires, Fashion Empires; all so much meat to the bone.
Take your shining apex of an idea and corral it girlfriend.

You did that darling with Le Roy Soleil, a Baccarat bottle
designed by Dali to celebrate the end of World War II
with a Surrealist gold sun stopper, enthroned on a glass ocean.

But every high noon has a Skeleton Evening Dress
hanging in the closet; a Lobster Dinner Dress poised to pinch;
a veiled Tears Dress to reveal the shadow of a showdown.



The Naked Lady

Her bronze body, sculpted by Guillaume, stands sixteen feet high.
She is known – affectionately – as Dirty Gertie.

Her bronze body, sculpted by Guillaume, stands sixteen feet high,
resolute as cars on Regents Park Road speed by.
Many a troubadour in North Circular territory
has courted her with a cobla esparsa composed on the fly
over and over, her uncovered sword pierces the sky.
Her story of unveiling was in no way flirty.
Lloyd George said La Délivrance was a symbol of victory
in a war which delivered us from the despot’s eye.
The newsflash did not flesh out her nudity.
In the 1920 Paris Salon, she made a newspaper magnate shy.
She is known – affectionately – as Dirty Gertie.

This poem is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May - June 2019.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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