I Say I Want to Write About Someone Who Isn't Me
I keep him locked in my head, in a room full of dusty books, old family photos, a muddle of childhood toys, abandoned exercise equipment, random alphabets scrawled on splintery beams. I keep making him try on different wardrobes, new identities. One day he’s the son I never had, the next my long-dead grandfather, balding and arthritic. A biker, though he’s terrified of motorcycles, a Sherpa, despite his fear of heights. He gains forty pounds in the month he’s a gourmet chef moonlighting as detective, grows gaunt and pale as a prisoner of war, goes under the knife, wailing and pleading that I reconsider my improbable plot when I decide to write about a one-armed transsexual nun in a convent in Duluth. After surgery, he mumbles resentful rosaries and keeps losing his faith despite detailed visions. For a series on sparrows, I send him hop, hop hopping across many a springtime lawn, until his unfortunate encounter with a ginger tom, after which I gather a tuft of brown feathers from underneath an azalea, carry them to a slope above his favorite river, let him go.
Rebecca Baggett is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent of which are God Puts on the Body of a Deer (Main Street Rag) and Thalassa (Finishing Line). Recent work appears in Miramar, New Ohio Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Tar River Poetry. She lives in Athens, GA.