Elegy for Nuestra Señora la Reina
after Andy Warhol

by Matilda Berke


I had a different name, a longer one, once, but I’ve forgotten.

I get a mouthful of plastic every time I try.

             I love plastic. I want to be plastic,

             endless, disinfected.

A loose constellation of trinkets & dying gods.

             You can make them dance,

                          if you’ve got some coins to spare

             you can do most anything. Last time I checked,

I was an optimist. Or was it stupid?

You keep on rearranging the letters— fruiting angel, tinsel vixen, murderess—

             & some guy makes them look the same in post. Not to complain,

             but I can’t get these tire tracks off my swimming-pool blue 

                       by which I mean

                                    the hills haven’t said a word in years & it’s pretty lonely

                                    out here with only asphalt & gasoline for company &,


                          never mind.

I know you’ve been busy planting highway cathedrals

              & leaving altars bare. Drinking rivers.

              Mowing lawns. Tending almonds.

                          Watching me choke on 70 mil

                                       & writing so many novels

                                       promising that this,

                                                                         this is what it means to love.

Matilda Berke started writing poetry in her junior year at Polytechnic School and has since been recognized by YoungArts, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the L.A. Tomorrow Prize, & the L.A. Youth Poet Laureate competition. She will be double majoring in English and Economics at Wellesley College; in her free time, she hopes to take up sailing, start a punk band, and see more of the world. For now, she plans to enjoy her last few months of SoCal sunshine and read as many books as possible.
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