Johnathon Williams

Sapphics for a Dead Porn Star

for Maryam Haley (aka Haley Paige) 1981-2007


Image one: your face in the carpet, flattened,
open-mouthed, and written across your forehead
one word—whore. Lights. Camera. Action. Someone
screaming for more, more.

Image two: the glittering sand, arrested
mollusks dropped by waves in their long reach from places
far away. You're six, and the shells cut both palms—
blood in the water.

Image three: too thin for your age, a shadow
pressed against the fence, the entire schoolyard
empty. Home is nowhere you want to be, and
dusk is so pretty.

Image four: a dirty motel, but outside
stars are all you see in the San Diego
sky. You're broke, tomorrow will see an ad—nude
modeling. Top pay—

starting something, something that can't be stopped but
now your name is Maryam Haley, now it's
past your bedtime, now the alarms fall still, now
starlight is plenty.