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poetry High School Production of Les Miserables

Connie Post’s remarkable poem illuminates how our culture programs us to grieve for soldiers but accept exploitation of young women.

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High School Production of Les Miserables

By Connie Post

Act I Scene 3   “Lovely Ladies”

I could tell the costume designer

was careful to dress the young girls

like old fashioned street hookers

who hid their money

where it belonged

no midriff

no fish nets

no shoes that broke their backs

each one pranced in

from stage left

each in a different shade of flawless red

sitting scantily upon the ancient props

but as the orchestra played

and their mouths opened

I could already tell the ones

who had been taken

those whose hips had been an altar

I could tell, those whose backs

had been pressed into the couch

with no stage crew looking on

only the fading lights

there was an ease to the

the way they arched their necks

dropped their gaze at the last minute

knew well the scripts of subservience

when the number was over

I folded my hands

hoping that each girl would

scamper away quietly

and discreetly change her clothes

I waited for the scenes of war to come

for someone to die on stage

so the audience could finally grieve                            

Connie Post served as the first Poet Laureate of Livermore, California . Her work has appeared in Calyx, River Styx, Slipstream, Spoon River Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Verse Daily. Her Awards include the Liakoura Award, and the Crab Creek Review Poetry Award . Her first full length Book “Floodwater” won the Lyrebird Award.  Her second full length collection (also by Glass Lyre Press) “Prime Meridian” was released in January 2020 and was a finalist in the Best book Awards and the American Fiction Awards.