A blend of roses and coal-tar, I'm the Lady in Mauve.
Bittersweet as incense, solid as a church,
stubborn as fireweed rising from ashes. True, I love
   to think I'm a nasty bitch
but my heart is a box of candy.  The black boots
I wear under my crinoline are just a touch of noir;
like old-time country folk, I never lock the door
   of that bird-cage with its maze of hoops
that keeps my ruffles stiff yet swirled
a distance from my body.  I swing the door wide
open so a gentleman can reach inside,
   release my captive desires.  Still they make
their songs. Like everyone else I was born ten years too early,
ten years too late.  In my next life I'll go naked.   

Barbara Lefcowitz
BARBARA F. LEFCOWITZ has published eight full-length collections of poetry, a novel, and inidividual poems, stories, and essays in over 450 journals, and has also won writing fellowships and prizes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Maryland Arts Council.