Self-Portrait as Film Noir Villainess

March 15, 2020

Leggy, emerging from shadow in a hat and veil,
dress dark as blood – red silk, perhaps, or black velvet,
liquid in the chiaroscuro. A train station, and me with a mysterious
errand of vengeance, poison with a suitcase and a mission.
If you can, imagine my background as disheveled, neglected child
with ratty hair, a nefarious case of missing persons,
and all the scenes take place in a rainstorm.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the back of police cars,
I’m intimate with the make and model of the kind of gun
you’re holding in your hand right now. I wear gloves
even in warm weather. I’m really a cipher, a plot device,
a way to let the men be heroic or not in the inevitable last scene
where I throw myself in front of the bullet, or drive into the frozen
lake. Don’t be fooled by my satin glamour, the smoothness of my hair
and skin; it’s been a rough ride always assuming the mistaken identity,
the murderer’s weapon, the high heeled shoe that just catches the light.

Jeannine Hall Gailey

One Response to “Self-Portrait as Film Noir Villainess”

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