Obit: Licia Albanese, 105
by Kevin King

Sore-beshitted she was when the old Met was torn down,
standing ghost-like by the rubble
in her Madame Butterfly kimono
as if anticipating her 2014 demise,
like an obituary writer in need of an embellishment.
Waif-like and as if upon her gaunt visage she’d collected
all the cobwebs from the old props closet,
her mouth all a-pout like a brioche gone poof.
You could tell she was suffering
a nostalgia as big as a hernia.
The Times . . . The Times of New York said that she did
mortality exceptionally well,
especially her expiration as a Butterfly (Cio-Cio San)
and as a swan in love (Odette.)
To see how Mimi and Violetta
should do it,
she haunted a tuberculosis ward.
But her own world
being other than a stage,
she went out at 105 like the old-Met custodian
putting the key to the lock for the final
unnecessary click.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 2.

Kevin King is the author of the novel All The Stars Came Out That Night (Dutton, 2005), and the novel Phantom (Open-bks, 2017). He is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and has published in numerous journals, including Ploughshares, Stand, Threepenny Review, etc. His article on composition was just published in Double Helix and another article will appear in the summer 2020 issue of The Linguistics Journal.

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