Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts

Poetry Contest Winners :: Eighteenth Contest :: First Place Winner


For a Would-Be Actress

by Lisa Romano Licht
My six-year-old self runs, Chaplin-like,
toward the movie camera,
guitar-playing Beatle
with a black wig and boy jacket —
no store-bought costumes for me.

You created the illusions:
Depression-born baby
weaned on '40s happy endings
and Big-War bravado
at The Paradise two nights a week,

Nursing your Hershey bar,
dreaming in the dark
of the actress you would be:
no silly Shirley Temple
but a real woman like Ava Gardner.

I think it was then you learned
the subtle art —
to arch an eyebrow
and drape a cape,
what kind of purse a starlet held and how,

Why in mother-years you could finesse
pirates' pasty jewels or gypsies' spangles
from your brimming drawers,
find a flapper's fur or witch's shoes
beyond your closet door.

You step into the camera's frame,
unyielding '60s hair,
waving, smiling,
so young, so beautiful —
I'd forgotten.

My bunny brother and Beatle me,
your designs of substance wave,
then recede into a sea of
flimsy outfits,
plastic masks.

You created the illusions
but you had no illusions.
We had become your dreams.
Second Place Winner
Blue Mountain Arts