Zia stares into the lens
ring pushed through lower lip
she never sees this image
(face in close-up, tight blonde curls)
snapped at arm’s length
(pupils pinpoints in blue ice)
a self-portrait with my camera

We spoke, her mother and I, over breakfast,
of Genet’s Balcony, the brothel filled
with fantasy rooms where whores entertained
the General, the Judge, the Prime Minister,
all in fancy dress

When I was young I lusted for Genet,
she said, his dark beauty, his genius,
then I fell in love with Max
who looked just like Genet
and we made Zia

A nurse’s uniform hangs in her closet,
dangling above her black oxfords;
her belly is tattooed with a scorpion
poised under her belly button

Where ya goin’, ya little whore?

She tosses her curls, narrows her eyes,
body tensed as the aging lookalike
throws an axe. She ducks, pierced
lip twisted, and laughs at him