Where Grade B Actresses Go

By Ann Robinson

Her real name is Rita Piceno, mid-forties,

skin peeling from too much makeup,

she goes home in tennis shoes to a one-room apartment.

 

People recognize her, but can’t recall from where,

though when her leading man signs autographs,

he always mentions her name.

 

Her three-way mirror knows her best.

I am your honey lips, your lady belle,

shot forty-three times, divorced fifteen, lost custody

of thirty-two children, murdered twelve husbands,

memorized thousands of lines.

 

Hung from a shower curtain, slept with thirty men,

although cameras shot only an empty bed.

She’s acted pathos so many times

she no longer feels;

she can’t imagine herself ten years from now.

 

In her next movie, her chandelier earrings

will be lost in the backseat

of Lee Marvin’s convertible,

as the car stalls on a cliff;

 

I am your big blond baby, your one and only, aren’t I?

Platinum hair tucked into the galaxy.

 

___

After receiving a B.A. in English literature from Lindenwood University, Ann Robinson attended the M.F.A. program at the University of Arkansas. In addition to owning a farming operation in Arkansas, she is also a legal clerk in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court of Marin County, California. She had been the recipient of the John Spaemer Award for Outstanding Fiction, a Marin Arts Council grant, and a scholarship to study at a Hofstra University conference. She’s also studied with Kathleen Fraser, Miller Williams, and Thomas Centolella.

Her work has appeared in American Literary Review, Coe Review, Compass Rose, Connecticut Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, The GW Review, Fourteen Hills, Freshwater, Natural Bridge, New York Quarterly, Passager, Poet Lore, The Portland Review, RiverSedge, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, Weave Magazine, Willow Review, and Zone 3, among others.


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