Homage to Gwyneth Paltrow

It is the summer of Gwyneth Paltrow. When I left,
she was lying on my granite countertop
smiling at a forkful of pasta,
as if that’s fooling anybody.

Thousands of miles overseas, she’s folded
into my magazine rack on a thin white train from Porto.
She sits cross-legged in a purple jersey dress, all loose
hair and long necklaces, smiling
at the camera while still focusing her chi.

I am not in the kitchen. I am not on the train.
I am melting into the rattan chairs of a Lisbon terrace,
above the red-tiled rooftops about to smolder in the sun.
I am a wine glass half-empty and an ashtray half-full.

I am spying on a table of sunburned Brits, unnoticed
until their rigid wives sat up even straighter.
A young American woman with large white teeth flops
onto their loveseat and bends low to rub her ankles,
exposing a deeply tanned gorge between heavy freckled breasts
hammocked in fiery red silk.
The men cross and re-cross their legs.
I stare at the Brits staring at the breasts.

Gwyneth Paltrow would not approve.

If she were here, Gwyneth Paltrow would be a mojito
sipped aboard a thin white train from Porto. Her eyes would
be the clear cold crackle of ice in a glass,
her teeth the grains of sugar riding tiny
on a mint leaf’s perfect ridges,
just seconds before muddling.

But I am not Gwyneth Paltrow.

I am neither ice nor the cool slope of white teeth.
Although I have attempted white capris and a sleek chignon,
I am the red skull,
neither the crisp vinho verde nor the chill on its glass.
Like a deep sunburned American gorge,
my chi has been cleaved.

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