Christmas, 2004 / No. 13

How boring it must’ve been

for Brigitte Bardot’s stand-in,

lying nude on her stomach,

hour after hour, as Godard

called for yet another close-up,

tilting the camera like a telescope

aimed at the heresy of two moons.

Perhaps she yawned, watching

gaffers move light around

a soundstage, arranging

the solar system that would

best illuminate Brigitte’s bottom—

or perhaps leafed through Life,

smoking cigarettes.

It would’ve been cold,

her nipples stiff and irrefutable

as she lay waiting for the director’s O.K.,

his ultimate approval of light.

Only then would the real Brigitte

finally appear on-set, stripping

even as she sauntered into the scene,

her clothes collecting lazily behind

like the trail of a sluggish comet—and

only then would our stand-in

(now lingering just off-screen,

robe cinched) feel that sadness

particular to heavenly bodies

that have abandoned their orbits.

Sometimes the universe must adjust

itself to the arrival of stars.