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Kimberly Wright

Elvis Never Left my Mother's Bathroom

Of the Living and Dead in Hollywood, Florida

Elvis Never Left my Mother's Bathroom

The King won't leave, more icon than man
trapped, toilet-side, in dozens of clones.
Metal and plastic grin and smolder,
peeping at those seated on the throne.

Mom's Jailhouse shroud, more cartoon than King,
haunts a shower, a flesh-colored shadow,
arm raised, sneering rebel sends
a Bates Motel shiver in the shower.

Read his toilet-side book of days. See,
he didn't have time to read, didn't mean
to tune out legions of devotees,
but dead kings don't read and don't pay heed.

Just listen to the beat, see the sideburns, watch
the hip swivel forever coined for coin,
as rockabilly legs swing side to side, tick for tock,
the wall clock marking time the King cannot.

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Of the Living and Dead in Hollywood, Florida

In the 50s, in a rental tucked away on a narrow backwater street
ethereal old brigands and turn-of-the-century damsels
mingled with kids clutching dolls, watching Howdy Doody,
flickering in daguerreotype, gaslight souls

decades after those cadavers were filled with sawdust
and sewn shut. Those who rented the back room all quit the place,
chilled with the great beyond, hairs tingling - touched, they said.

Mom found out later why her adopted guardian angel
glided in a white flowing gown like every fairy godmother ever,
perhaps why her childhood fever brimmed over with buccaneer dreams,
glowing red eyes, a second lost soul

burning with Caribbean rum and rage.
In the 20s, not long after a tycoon flattened the mangroves
drained the swamp and named the place after a faraway movie town

the room at the end of the house served as pillaging point
for the deceased, cooling desires evicted and weighed -
Heart lighter than a feather? Not really. The restlessness lingered
long after the mortician stopped rolling bodies down the hall

into the room that didn't survive the new century,
as if amputating it could scrub what was drained
from veins long ago. Almost 60 years later,

Mom wondered if the floating lady still wandered
and what she should tell those living there.
Who knows what or whom history has laid down since
what sort of haunting echoes flay their bones.

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Kimberly Wright’s poetry has appeared in publications such as Poydras Review, Eunoia Review, Blood Lotus Journal, UCity Review, October Hill Magazine and Southern Review Online. Her first collection of poetry, Not pictured, was published by Finishing Line Press. She has worked as a journalist for 20 years –- including as a copy editor of a daily newspaper -- and lives in Woodstock, Georgia, where she won't be going to a salon, bowling alley or restaurant anytime soon, thank you very much.

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