'The Girl Detective' and Another Poem by Hilary S. Jacqmin

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

The Girl Detective

“’So, it’s come to that,’ she said. ‘You’re jealous of policemen.’”
 — Dashiell Hammett, The Thin Man

The girl detective does not date
She sits at home eating a piece of devil’s food cake
with red frosting She sits at home
with a pregnancy test
Icebox light slats the kitchenette

The girl detective rolls seamed stockings down
one at a time, slips off her crepe de chine
and navy pumps In dotted swiss pajamas
she yanks out the lousy Murphy bed
flips on her hot-bulb Hawaiian lamp
the hula dancer’s pampas skirt sways
hips like lava skin like kola nut

The girl detective sets her honey hair
in frozen orange juice cans
She double-checks
her clutch purse for Sweetheart tweezers, compact, blush
then badge and gun

Foundation caramelizes in her vanity mirror
a bullet lipstick ricochets
across the room The girl detective dreams
of handcuffs slanted grillework
lost keys and prison movies where the girls
are Lana Turner blond

All her exes broke
the law or moved to Hollywood
in search of starlets sunglass swimming pools
palm trees and palisades
green velvet theatres sinking into mossy film noir

The girl detective keeps a corkscrew handy
things always do go south it’s best to be prepared

Sideshow Banner: The Engagement of the Fat Lady and the Pocket Man

Jacques played my love-struck contract dwarf in tents
from Brou to San-Maur-des-Fossés.
He brought me saucisson, champagne,
and Gerber daisies wrapped in cellophane;

he stroked the triple strand of pearls that ringed
my clotted custard double chin
so tenderly, I almost thought
his sawdust-kneed proposal was sincere.

The banner painter captured our romance
on canvas. There I sit, enthroned
on gilt aluminum, my teeth
bared in a fox-trap grin, my dimpled bulk

blown up to fill a wincey sideshow wall,
forever fat, just twenty-two.
The joke was that a gentleman
that small could fall for someone oversized

and listing, like an alpine île flottante,
our false long looks some mastodon mistake.
I fed him tarte tatin, marceled my hair,
and kissed his biscuit porcelain brow,

but when the tour closed, he pocketed
my Carbanado diamond ring
and caravanned to Bruges with Snake Charm Elle.
These days, although the cook-tent steams

with boudin blanc, I find it hard to put
on weight. Bereft, I slouch beneath
our faded courtship scene, my heart
a punched-in bladder on a birch-bark stick.

Hilary S. Jacqmin is an MFA student at the University of Florida. Her poem “Wedding Album” was published in Best New Poets 2011: 50 Poems from Emerging Writers, edited by D. A. Powell.

More poems? Yes, they are here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.