after Otto Dix’s painting “Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber”
I have met a Munich girl with black hair
and a penchant for putting out matches on the tip of her tongue.
I light up across from her
flimsy hot and latex, a carmine heart
stamped across my lips. Smoke
swirls like soup and I ask
if she would like to try sticking her head
into the circus tiger’s mouth.
We strip, punch-drunk and cock-sick
on the big top tightrope. Her cracked hand
slides over the curve of my belly. Nails scrape
my unwashed skin, black hair
spreads like oil. She touches me
to the tip of her tongue but I am still lit.
Isabella Santoni (she/her) is an undergraduate student, writer, and theatre maker in Tucson, Arizona. Her work has also been published in the 2021 YoungArts Anthology and The Impressionable Years Hypothesis, and recorded at TedxYouth@Ocotillo Road. She writes about girlhood, rainwater, and the bugs in her house.