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How Could Norma Jean

not prefer Marilyn, the soft
blond, rounded from angular brown
childhood, new milk skin,
the surprise of her body, proficiency
in thrown-back head, half-closed eyes,
the schoolgirl, ingenue
improved?  How could she not
agree to make the deal
for change?  Fidelity
could never flash that smile.

O, Marilyn--
your fleshy thighs, the waist
that celebrates the absolute, the cinched-in
Playmate that you were!

your skirt blown north, a false demure
and nothing like the girl
gone missing.  Later,
tired in Technicolor, done
with the vagrant impulse to linger,
sleepily crooning
Happy Birthday, sewn into that
impossible gown. Out west

on the frontier of self-
invention, Norma could not resist
becoming other.  Leading
the eye one screen farther,
dissolved to an eloquent flicker,
indistinct in black and white.

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