I am dressed plain, wear caps on my teeth
and rubberized disks to reshape my nose.
I'm Judy in Easter Parade, 1948.
I'm not sure if Fred Astaire's character loves me
until the very end of the movie.
I'm Live at Carnegie Hall
I'm reshaping my eyebrows,
lightening my hair, using a lip liner,
throwing out the nose disks.
I miss that dark space when the needle hits the vinyl.
I'm wearing a sequined pantsuit,
part of my almost wardrobe from Valley of the Dolls.
Only my pre-recording of "I'll Plant My Own Tree"
and the screen test have survived.
I was replaced by Susan Hayward.
Hunger, little thorns, barbiturates,
all walk with me
like four friends — arms linked across the path.
— Bernadette Ulsamer
Bernadette Ulsamer earned an MFA from Carlow University, where she is a member of Madwomen in the Attic. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Pittsburgh City Paper, The Main Street Rag, Girls with Glasses Literary Journal, Cossack Literary Journal, Roar Magazine, and The Broken Plate, and has been anthologized in Voices from the Attic and Along These Rivers. Her poem "ICU, Holy Thursday" was long-listed for the International Fish Poetry Prize 2013. She also blogs at: www.outfitsnotjustclothes.blogspot.com. She lives in the South Side Slopes. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on WESA 90.5 FM.