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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