Conducting a silent
invisible orchestra
bouncing as if
a hundred instruments
weighed nothing

a Chinese drag queen poised
at the center of a sea of cushions
flexes her fan
to flirt or hope
to inspire
fear and failing

dives upward
taking winds
and strings and brass
in hiccuping arrhythmia
away from curious fingers
of child scientists and predators

so strange
art can live
in false eyes
on dung and corpses
guised as flowers and guiltless

for it is natural this
hysterical gown
worn by the vulnerable
and our preconception
as if beauty were neither
utility nor taught.


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