I borrowed a nun costume for the first Halloween party. No one spoke
to me. Some party guests began to dip their heads in gin. Others spoke
of Central America. Wait, I said. I am Unitarian. They ate potato chips
and pretended not to hear. The Statue of Liberty in corporate chains
fell in love with the African bridegroom.
The second year I got a small bag of potato chips and a tube of super
glue and went as a woman with a chip on her shoulder. Toward the
end of the night the drunken hostess bit the chip in half. Half a chip
is better than no chip, she said, which I think of every time I see that
shirt in the closet.
I went as a grasshopper the third year. It was a joke. One of my friends
called me Grasshopper, from that TV show. I ran out of time to make
a body. I wore a green jogging suit and wings. The wings were wide
and I walked from room to room, knocking potato chips onto the
floor. Cassandra had spent three hours getting her hair curled. When
Dmitri asked me to dance I left my wings on a chair.
This selection comes from Karen Schubert’s chapbook I Left My Wings On A Chair, available from Kent State University Press. Purchase your copy here!
Karen Schubert’s most recent chapbooks are Black Sand Beach (Kattywompus Press, forthcoming) and I Left My Wings on a Chair (Kent State Press, 2014), selected by Kathleen Flenniken for the Wick Poetry Center prize. Her work appears or is forthcoming in PoetsArtists, The Louisville Review, American Literary Review, Best American Poetry Blog, and diode poetry journal. She was a 2013 writer-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts and her poem “Autobiography” was selected by Tony Hoagland for the first annual William Dickey Memorial Broadside Contest. She is a founding member of Lit Youngstown, a new literary arts organization in Youngstown, Ohio.
Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of the chapbooks When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Booth, The Emerson Review, Harpur Palate, Moon City Review, Stirring, and Whiskey Island, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.