Over time, his chin doubled, his face fattened,
his every word wheezed its way out.
He found himself in lurid settings—
throttling stock villains while
drugged Janet Leigh lay nearby,
innocent as a motel bible
(even then, she knew her niche).
Earlier, he’d held a god’s office,
presiding over three famous minutes
of film, a single tracking shot
that elaborated the limits of his universe:
parked car, street, explosion—
but no more such ambitions.
By the end, he struggled merely to picture
the shape and make of a cane
that might steady his hobbled thoughts,
and wanted very badly to slap the Mexican clean
off Charlton Heston’s bronzed face.
Marlene assessed a mess, honey.
Washing bloody hands in water
choked with garbage, Orson accepted irony.
Made popular his art. He longed, finally,
to sit down to a hot bowl of chili,
set lovingly before him by his dreamed-of gypsy.