Tables of four edged the small stage
a shredded tinsel curtain
shimmered in blue light.
Her French accent made the room
a poor man’s cabaret
though I didn’t know it then;
I was American and twenty-something
knocking down shots of cheap
tequila with friends.
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida launched her show.
A haggard-looking Marlena Dietrich
with a white and yellow twelve-foot boa constrictor on bare shoulders.
Some men whooped when she
lifted the creature above her head,
leaned so a thigh peeked
from the slit in her glittering red dress
like dinner for two.
The devil is my friend she cooed,
and maybe she had been to hell,
kissed Lucifer on the lips
because she brought the snake
between her legs and tugged.
She flickered like a seizure in the strobe light.
After her set she sat at our table,
picked me as a mark for drinks.
We closed the bar. She took me home.
Put Pussy in its cage and fed it mice.
It swallowed them while they squeaked.