Henry Grew Crosby, 32 years old, of a socially prominent Boston family, and Mrs.
Josephine Rotch Bigelow, 22 years old,… were found dead last night, each with a bullet
in the head…The couple died in what is described as a suicide compact…His wife was
formerly Mrs. Mary Peabody.
The New York Times, December 11, 1929
Mrs. Mary (Polly)Peabody:
In a war ambulance at Verdun,
he swirls red lights, drives
through red explosions,
holds a man shrapnel pocked
before it all burns. In melting metal
and flaming oil, he is reborn
as death’s coquette, as my own,
as a descendent of the sun.
He was first a nebula, a swirl of gas and cosmic dust
gathering matter before he is birthed a star.
And we had fusion twirling through that silly carnival
Tunnel of Love. P and I, we shall burn eternal,
be manic matter and I should hardly care tomorrow
should I die tonight.
speaking of the lioness and the tamer,
absinthe as the order of the day,
me as if I were his wife,
the moon because he is the sun.
She is shed of orbiting
her husband. The children
will be far flung moons.
Shed of snowstorms,
it is all sun-nymphs
in sun forests,
atop sun towers.
Because Wilde wrote “When Americans die,
they go to Paris,” we went
and he’s been wearing my black
lace panties for a week and a black
gardenia in his lapel.
Numbers in red.
25 today. Halfway through life.
We taint our skin with ochre, go to a party, me in loincloth, wife bare breasted, win the costume prize of 25
bottles of champagne. At home, 7
people in our pink water tub.
Exquisite hands, porcelain hands,
gloved and ungloved, countess hands
and duchess hands, limp hands, young
hands, my hands shaking, shaking shaking, touching him blind. Someone drinks champagne out of a stolen
skull from the catacombs.
My wife with breasts that caressed her ribs
as she quickened down the platform, two bottles
of absinthe cradled in crooked arms. I name her:
How easy it was to slip into those hours,
slide the papers off a desk at a party in a house not ours,
crash into a night, name a chapter wild ease,
let the heat of a summer swallow me whole.
A star, a sun. core burns,
radiates energy, light.
Core is the gravitational center.
Too many people in the world
and Mount Edna is erupting.
I think I might like to die
by volcano, absorb the light
of a thousand inner suns.
Date set for our death: 31 October 1942
Date Earth closest to Sun: 31 October 1942
I am thirty. I make law.
I name them.
He names them all his sun princesses:
The Lady of the Golden Horse, Nubile, Jacqueline the Grey Princess, Lady A, Lady of the Music Shop, Lady Clothed with Sun, Girl with Sun in her Eyes, Dark Princess, Mademoiselle Fragile, Girl of the White Polo Coat…
I am the Cramoisy Queen.
A star keeps a gravitational attraction,
pulling more atoms together at the center.
Crash into some girl too young for me
in Spain and I trickle into crowds
and between the rain. Absinthe one,
absinthe two, three and in the streets,
daisies brush my shins.
At the party, ribald and raucous,
we all stood around the bathtub
drinking absinthe cocktails
in teacups. My eyes in the mirror:
gold and green tigeress eyes.
A lover in all black, gold necklace,
his eyes are tiger eyes
and when he left I looked up
the word esculent.
Hurraburra, hurraburra and much flogging with whips.
They wanted me to pay to see a girl tied to a post
flagellated and I haven’t the courage to do it.
Hurraburra, hurraburra, ragamuffins lost, boys lost,
we are all lost in eternity and sunlight
and I gave them all the gold I had.
It’s a constant battle between gravity and gas pressure,
crucial to remember this. I am grave, I am serious.
Departure Paris to Egypt,
departure Earth to Sun,
to consume the Sun in black
ink on my back, to be a sun within a sun.
In Egypt, beggar women carry babies, eyes sticky with flies.
All dust and dung and prattle and oaths and poverty in the raw.
H wanted the tattoo and so we embarked on a boat
and the captain tied H down, then stuck his hands in my folds.
Colors exploded as the sun bore deeper into my skin, deep black,
bells ringing, sparks dancing in every direction, everything
was violent, every flock of bids in the sky. I envy them
because they are closer to Ra. Frail and electric.
We go back. New York.
Cerise is the color of the bruise where he bit me,
a color like a sunset. A star is not very stable,
must maintain equilibrium.
Sun gold, sunrise, sunset, sun parlor, sunbathe, sunchoke, sunburst, sunbird,
sunbeam, sunshine, sun bitten, sunbow, sun star, sun river, sundew, sundial, sundog, sunfish, sundrops, sunglow. SUNFIRE.
I wish to go sunward, I am entangled with the sun, clothed in fire.
I tell him, death will be our marriage. Gravity always wins.
In New York he slipped me through the doorway of death
in a borrowed apartment. Larger stars burn faster, shorter lives.
They had to use an ax to break through the door.
I am the housefly at the window throwing
itself against the glass, dying to get to the sun.