Risk Management Memo: A Star Is Born
Mary BiddingerPoetry / Number 83
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.
Mary Biddinger is the author of the poetry collections Prairie Fever (Steel Toe Books, 2007), Saint Monica (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, 2012), and A Sunny Place with Adequate Water (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). She is also co-editor of The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (University of Akron Press, 2011). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Bat City Review, Blackbird, Forklift, Ohio, Gulf Coast, H_NGM_N, Pleiades, Redivider, and Quarterly West, among others. She teaches literature and poetry writing at The University of Akron, where she edits Barn Owl Review, the Akron Series in Poetry, and the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics.Image by Joanna Kosinska