She was beautiful and innocent,
She would wear plain, shapeless dresses, but on her
They looked like summer rain on the canna lilies.
She turned 18 in 1997.
On a rainy day, when I was even younger than her,
We went to a bookstore.
Timber trestle tables were set up, and cheap books were spread across them
All in a jumbled pile.
She picked up a book on actors of the 20th century
And took it to the old man at the cash register and bought it.
At nights, she would read the book to me
Telling me the life stories of these actors and the movies they were in.
These people were so far removed from our lives
But they seemed so glamorous.
She would tell me one day she’d go to Hollywood and see where these people live,
See their mansions.
Sometimes, she would take me to the movies
And we’d see films,
Cartoons and whatever was playing.
Over the years that old book,
With its heavy hard cover,
would come out and we’d go over the names and photos.
Every time an actor would die, she would carefully, neatly
Write in the date of their death next to their name.
And many of those old actors died.
Beautiful women with long blonde hair,
Men with burning eyes and large chins.
I would listen to the news and when an actor died,
I would rush to her room so I would be the first to tell her the news.
It was a morbid connection.
The movie stars of the 20th century
The old world stars slowly fading and disappearing.
She never made it to Hollywood
Instead she met a man
And she married him.
Still, when a celebrity dies, I think of her
And I’ll text her
Hoping I’ll be the first to tell her the news.