Risk Management Memo: Community Outreach


by Mary Biddinger



At first it was like one of those riddles

they assigned to keep us busy, like soldering


the white parts on a panda, building half-

boats / half-men that could reproduce themselves


with a little encouragement. I wished for

an earthquake, and it happened in ceramics so


everything that was destroyed should’ve

been destroyed anyway. It was a compliment.


In Lars von Trier’s version of my history

I would have occupied more than one bus seat.


But I was past the candy age, and this

was a colder sort of country, which sets its girls


loose in 305-square-foot occupancies

furnished with yesterday’s dormitory regalia


and suspicious electrical outlets like

pornographic slot machines for the very small.


And the social worker has her own

heavy troubles, so it’s not out of line to offer


to fix her braids in the back, or put on

a pot of maybe coffee with a West Side press


which can do other things, much like

you or me, and that’s called dimensional by


the checklist (the mild version thereof),

and I wonder if eventually checklists become


extinct in this story, and you’ll just think

hard of the only lady on earth wearing red wool


and she will start buzzing your buzzer,

which is just two wasps interlocked on the floor.