Risk Management Memo: Small Enterprise

Mary Biddinger

You wanted to open a café called
Rimbaud’s Helicopter. I just kept telling
myself to look loveable. We watched

Apocalypse Now in two sleeping bags
zipped together incorrectly. I confessed
how I was making a bejeweled saddle

for a racehorse I would never own.
His name would be Look Loveable. He
would think about killing all the other

jockeys because I rode him so right.
And this was the only true benefit
of being small. In camp they buried me

first, then poured the curdled cider
into my hair. My mother joined in, but
only in my imagination. You wanted

to give me an outrageous hickey
and to drown yourself before turning
twenty. All my friends knew better

than to try swimming in hayfields.
I met you at the gun house. Somebody
had put new curtains up, but nothing

could take away the head-marks
on the walls. Our entire city became
a place that turned its back on coffee,

even marzipan ducklings. There’s
a reason everyone loves the same
things. That reason will never be you.