by Susan McCaslin
Britney, America’s erstwhile darling
at twelve, now fodder for YouTube,
her half-life held in Pepsi ads.
Cornered by paparazzi, she swings
her bared bum out of cars
too late to avoid the crotch shot.
“Hit me baby one more time”
with your cameras
on route to the custody trial,
coon-ringed eyes veering away.
Too soon modified, mortified,
commoditized, too soon married,
lean, a fatty chomped by the machine,
you, no heavier than Venus in her prime,
you, of the infatuating perfumes
no one will buy.
They have ripped you apart like Orpheus
and your stripped fragments fly all over the web
where your shaven head still goes on singing.
So I’m swooping in for an aerial pickup,
nabbing you by taxi,
smuggling you out of rehab
for Paris, with or without the kids,
where we’ll dance on Marc Chagall’s ceilings
and I’ll introduce you to his mystic bride,
and the fiercely flying animals
and you can lie on the beach with Reubens,
where the fans who gobbled you up like candy
can never mock you again
and you will be calmed,
if not wholly convinced,
of your own hidden wholeness.