Blues Song for a Showgirl

 for José, 1948-1990

Miranda de la Rosa sang the blues
in crystal ball gowns
held his trophies high because
he was the best.

His nurse would have buried him
spiraled inside a feather boa
wearing a lamé
headdress twice his height.

Her good intentions left him longing
for the arms of a dark and silent man
Miranda de la Rosa lost his shimmy
in these last few months

Together they listened to Lena Horne
as they struggled to get down sips
of thick gray soup, hoping
for one more day