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About this poet

Carrie Shipers is the author of Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico Press, 2016); Cause for Concern (Able Muse Press, 2014), selected by Molly Peacock for the 2014 Able Muse Book Award; and Ordinary Mourning (ABZ Press, 2010). She teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.

The Deadman

	        After Marvin Bell

The Deadman speaks in sentences 
but rarely paragraphs.  He wears boots 
with silver buckles and walks 
without a sound.  His hat and coat 
exaggerate his height.  Unlike other 
wrestlers, the Deadman doesn’t need 
applause to prove that he exists.  
He mostly moves above the waist, 
his gestures plain from the back row.  
The Deadman’s x-rays always blur.  
Likewise MRIs, though he holds 
perfectly still.  He controls light 
and fire with his mind.  His burns 
are first degree.  The Deadman 
works 19 days a year, but only 6
of those are matches.  Even if 
he wrestles first, he’s still the main event.  
No matter where he dresses, 
the Deadman runs the locker room.  
He shakes hands because he must.  
His palms are neither moist nor dry, 
hot nor cold.  His grip has nothing
left to prove.  The Deadman disappears 
at will, but he always returns.  
He did not invent his famous matches—
Hell in a Cell, Buried Alive—
but he perfected them.  The Deadman 
can be surprised, but never by himself.

Copyright © 2015 Carrie Shipers. Originally published in Conduit, Spring 2015. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 Carrie Shipers. Originally published in Conduit, Spring 2015. Used with permission of the author.

Carrie Shipers

Carrie Shipers

Carrie Shipers is the author of Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). She teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.

by this poet

poem
Not because of the hours or the pay, which could be worse.
          Not because of my commute into this office park,
                    or that no one else appreciates that phrase as much as I do.

Not the dim unholy hum of energy-efficient lights,
          recycled air with
poem
We noticed participation has decreased,
though whether due to layoffs or malaise
we can’t be sure. While the survey

is anonymous, if you filled the comment boxes
with These questions suck or Stop wasting
my time, we probably know who you are,

especially if you mentioned your division,
duties
poem
Let the seats be plentiful and padded.  
Let the magazines be recent or let the book 
I’ve brought last until we can leave.
Let the TV on its bolted stand be off, 
muted, or showing something I can ignore—
weather, gameshows, CNN.  Let the room 
be mostly empty—no one shouting, sobbing, 
asking about my husband’