Today's poem is by Nicky Beer

Most Bizarre Beauty Queens of the 1950's
        —after an article by Elyse Wanshe

It's easy to snicker at the Sausage Queen,
draped in a stole of glistening, tumescent weenies,
a quintet of bratwurst bristling from her pasteboard crown.
Or 1954's Miss National Catfish Queen, posed with a monster
catch and one supple leg proffered, like the reenactment
of some lesser-known Greek myth. And what happened
to the blueberries that filled the Hotel Roosevelt's tub
in which the Blueberry Queen slithered? Did someone
make the World's Largest and Most Unhygienic Cobbler?
But something makes me return to the photo of Joy
Harman, New York City's 1957 Donut Queen.
Perhaps it's the impossibly unanatomical upthrust
of her sweatered breasts, cantilevered to the ceiling.
Or the hint of teeth and tongue between her lips,
making me think bite bite bite. Or how she's shot
from below, as if the photographer were kneeling to receive
the communion of the small powdered donut she proffers
between her thumb and forefinger. But it's probably
those disembodied hands holding the grotesque
donut crown poised over her head—less of a pastry
homage and more of an oversized lamé ouroboros—hairy
and veined, a signet grinning from the ring finger
that I almost hear saying this way honey just like that honey
that's great honey a little more honey turn a little
more to the right honey try not to breathe honey
just one more honey
. And Joy later, at home: No Ma,
it's not a halo, it was never a halo, not a halo at all.

Copyright © 2017 Nicky Beer All rights reserved
from The Book of Donuts
Terrapin Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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