I Kissed Vivien Leigh - Jim Cunningham

I kissed Vivien Leigh,

well not really… though I told
every grinning green Catholic soul
at my school I did that and more

I did smell the wine on her breath
and watch her trip into the trailer 
her gown hitting the floor 
before she closed the door 
her body as white as the fake snow 
spitting onto the set, and
as cold perhaps

I was sixteen and she was fifty one 
this was my one and only, her last, 
flick, not fling, though I would have
cut off an arm for it to have been so 
not the arm she touched 
in our one immortal scene together… 
her electric hand, 
all the blond hairs on my forearm standing at attention 
me wondering if the camera caught
their helpless vertical veer 

it mattered not, most of the scene
landed not on the screen, but
the cutting room floor, my two lines slashed to one 
my 48 seconds with her shaved to 22

I did not cry when I heard she died,
twenty months later, but my lie seemed soiled 
once she was in the ground
I confessed to Father Ryan 
he was silent when
I asked what to tell 
the fools who believed 
the dying star lay with me 
simply because she said,
“Call me Vivien, not Ms Leigh”

- - -

Jim Cunningham is a Texan poet, stranded on the prairies of the USA. He lives in the wily world of words most days. This poem I Kissed Vivien Leigh came in second in last month's Goodreads Poetry Competition.