Fragment of a queen

A heavy, humid day at September’s end an old tobacco and sweat encrusted queen crookedly alights from the backseat of a car and shuffles across the white piazza. Middle-aged to twilight, says, “I know why he’s pulled open his chest in all those pictures, his heart there.” Stops. Lights a long cigarette and the filter brushes, catches upon a faint film of stubble. “If only she’d die and let me get on with it. I’d finally have space to breathe. She’s always had the window.” The sun-struck roses in the municipal amphorae cracked, she wondered if that vampire was still behind the glass. At the cinema, over on the Corso. Was it even there anymore? Lord, what a sight. Black stringy hair thinning, couldn’t even take up much of the dye, tattooed up to the chin, cheap heavy rings. Only claim to fame coming in black-and-white in some film, in New York supposedly, smack-lidded eyes, a good looking cock. Would she make it? In any event, he wouldn’t have anything to spare, surely.

Not even noon yet, too hot.

Somewhere back behind her, up the Pincian Hill, back over the dead ground behind the Villa Borghese. A hot-air balloon, stitched with stars.

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