Risk Management Memo: A Star Is Born

Mary Biddinger | Poetry

I was speaking but it was mostly symbols. Toenails
the color of activated charcoal. Walls spattered

with cola or similar. You had decided to stop
imagining a chalk outline of my body on yours.

You were seeing the specialist. Even chewing gum
was verboten. I had to fashion a velvet smock

for every glass item in the house. Crystal owls
not exempt. The police wanted to know how

I’d carried you so many blocks with no gurney.
As if we had one, but I left it behind. Hell, even

your wallet stayed with us. Then the bathtub,
teakettle filled with cold water. Our record

player long broken, so I screamed the lyrics,
because after so many times you don’t mess with

a formula. Wheeling you out of the hospital
in late January, they thought you were holding

an infant in your arms, but it was just your arms
and the clothes I’d jammed into a pillowcase

on our way to the train. I was the only baby
you ever had. Long ago you played quarterback,

drove the Ridgeview Temblors to victory.
Somebody etched your likeness onto a feeble

medallion. You could not say the same for most
of the inhabitants of our universe. At night

I hid the phone in a shoe box stuffed with yarn.
You were a reverse Hail Mary in the dark.