My dad always thought
I looked like Lisa Marie Presley.
He was obsessed with Elvis, an Italian immigrant, who could never quite pronounce “Presley” without it sounding like “Pretzel.”
I was five years old when Elvis died.
my parents mourned and mourned,
I thought he was my uncle.
I screamed whenever my father put on an Elvis record.
I thought if I listened to Elvis I would die, too,
or my parents would die, or my brother,
picked off like guitar strings
if they were in earshot of Heartbreak Hotel.
When I became a teenager,
I fell in love with a dead man, James Dean.
I went on a Manhattan walking tour
when I was sixteen.
The guide took us to all of James Dean’s haunts:
night clubs, restaurants, and his abandoned apartment,
where I ripped off a piece of wallpaper
and put it in my pocket.
A woman on the tour said,
“My friend and I think
you look like Lisa Marie Presley.”
She had a tattoo of Elvis on her arm.
That night in Penn Station,
waiting for a train to take me home,
a drunk man fell on the third rail,
it shook him like a possession.
Heartbreak Hotel was playing
on the 6 o’clock news this morning.
Lisa Marie Presley died,
and now you’re ready to go.
Your backpack strapped to your back,
I watch you walk onto the platform,
at my childhood triggers.
Published in Bluebird Word
Artist: "Jenni" Guinevere von Sneeden, @guinevere.von.sneeden