CURRICULUM VITAE (by Alissa Leigh)

My education proper began
when my friend’s brother
strolled into the bedroom
wearing nothing but
a tumbler of whiskey

I was born in mid-winter.
A bird obscured the sun.
It was a public holiday:
rubbish stood uncollected
in the streets of the capital.
The soldiers sat smoking
around their mountain fires.
My mother wore red,
the doctors wore white,
my father came running.
My education proper began
when my friend’s brother
strolled into the bedroom
wearing nothing but
a tumbler of whiskey. I
kissed his knees and feet –
from then on, it was just one
mad success after another.
Prizes in math and ethnic
understanding. Not the first
in my year to wear a bra
but not the last, either. At
our graduation ceremony,
I recited Sappho’s poem
“Day in, day out I
hunger and struggle”
bringing tears to the eyes
of many. I believe I am
suitable for the position of
his majesty’s concubine
for several reasons. I
rarely speak: since I
left school I’ve spoken
on only two occasions:
once to reject an offer
of marriage, the second
to argue the matter with
my parents. I felt that
greater things awaited me.
It’s said the emperor likes
games of flight and capture.
If I may say so without
being thought immodest,
I’m an accomplished prey.