Popshot Magazine

(Erin McCluskey)

My Brilliant Career

By Barbara DeCoursey Roy. This poem was inspired by an abandoned baby handed into the hospital where she works one Christmas

Deposited in a cardboard box on the doorstep of St Jerome’s

three days before Christmas, found by an ex-cop

who packed a service revolver to six o’clock Mass,

I was named Noel by nurses at Children’s Hospital.


A full head of black hair, eyes like un-pitted

olives, skin untraceable to any specific ethnicity,

I was the “Christmas Baby,” usurper of headlines

about record snowfalls and record homicides.


My adopted white family changed my name to Taylor,

after the teenage pop star. I was to be

“Little Miss Universe,” but had a taste for Shakespeare

and salsa dancing, loved to roller blade with the guys,


and hated wearing makeup. Came out to my family

after safely navigating law school. Lawyering worse

than pretending to be straight, but I learned how to

dress for success, and close an argument.


I do performance art now. My Latina wife and I make

babies. Never thought our parents would accept

black and brown grandchildren, but they are goofy

about Frida, Enrique, and Shaquille.


Watching my children blow bubbles in the tub,

I remember (or almost) how I came upon the world.

Cigar smoke mixed with doughnuts; his paws

like sandpaper; a red siren on the blue-veined dawn.


My Brilliant Career is from The Identity Issue – Issue 23. Order your copy here

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