Farewell, “Forever Marilyn”

after the 30-foot-tall statue that appeared at Pioneer Court in Chicago, 2012

while children sleep at night in Guigang
fathers arrive at the center of town
to dislodge an unauthorized version of you.
they haul that thirty-foot tall statue away
to the junk heap, face down but still smiling because
even this false you knows what purity persists
in Chinese cities. this is why you are
forever. here on Pioneer Court, the true you
stands historical and erect, permission granted
by the mayor to push down your fluttering, frozen dress—
damn the Chicagoan wind. at dusk tourists
replete with idolatry depart along Michigan Avenue
after all day posing for shots beneath
the beams of your legs, giant pink feet
in high heels, novelty-sized toenails painted
rose red. but this is our last night together:

the Tribune says tomorrow you’re gone—
dismantled and shipped to Jersey and then
on to California for others to behold. allow me
to confess my head is shaped like an alto sax
because Momma made it with a blues man
the color of soaked soil. tonight a romantic vandal
tags in bleeding black script “Pistola hearts Ariel”
against the glowing wall of your right calve.
I refuse, still, to let you leave stained without
first kneeling between your stout ankles,
lifting bell face to blow horn inside you
a dream of finally falling from the long line
of dead bombshells into this world. I pray you
safe travel at our daylight farewell as men
appear in hard hats with tools to unscrew.

A Pushcart Prize-winning Black author, AKHIM YUSEFF CABEY’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in CallalooSalamanderThe Florida ReviewShenandoahIndiana Review, The Sun MagazinePuerto Del Solthe minnesota review, and elsewhere. A six-time recipient of the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence Award, he is originally from the Bronx, NY and now lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he advocates for the relationship between mental health and bodybuilding. He can be found on Instagram @the_fit_poet. 

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