Orpheum Circuit
                 —Bess Houdini, 1899

Don't even try to explain, not now,
when these vaudeville skirts
ride up my hips and sing.

Every lock has a discipline, Harry,
an elegance riddled with nerve.
Let the coins spill from your cuffs;

let my throat bruise blue as ring stone.
Skin is only half a truth,
a stage cast in shadow. I see
through the wire you twist in your palm—
my answer is never be sure.

—Diane Unterweger, Nashotah, WI