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  • Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms with Baton Twirler
  • Julie Sheehan (bio)

I. Any-and-all Bid for Outstanding Stock, i.e., an Invocation to my Muse

Envy glows a clownish candy yellow,a peg punched in a black console, noconsolation. Knowing envy’s pattern,

I’d like to diverge from yellow woods, or fathoma Canto. Instead, I conjure Lite Brite, its Hasbrotemplates and pegs devised to enslave artists.

Routines conscript; they also beautify,but, sidelined by the ’70s, September,the ugliness of yarn, an orange distemper

of shag, my muse buys in at the market low.She’s Kim, a big-boned girl, all golden thighsand pony tail and biceps, flinging the sun

in summersaults. The sun flings back batons,as if she were the asset stripper Phaethon,while marching bands play “Fight for IOWA!”

Our Junior Miss Majorette of Americatakes the field! Such glamor, all becauseshe romped with Lite Brite as a little girl, [End Page 128]

while I held out for what I thought would bean enviable art, not routine misery,nor hot-pad macramé, nor knit nor purl.

II. The Flip-in Poison Pill, or Kim Resists My Takeover Move

My muse had early breasts and hand-me-downs,spoke nary a word, and, like the Barbie dollsher sister gave her when their heads broke off,sat mute in attitudes of To Be Seen,her breast inert, her pose a semaphore.

But Kim—O Kim!—you practiced on the sly!In your sketchy yard, you must have beatendown the dust and beaten out the droveswho also figured 8: “A scoop of chocolate,scoop of vanilla, pay at the counter.” Again.

Your slummy mom, could she have been your coach?Your pocked sidewalk, could it have been your cadence,the crickets your sizzle and choke? Thumb flip. Again.You must have choreographed a quiet spaceto move in-&-a-two, too slow. Again.

A dropping space you found for flat toss, windmill,and fingertwirl. Again. (I never saw you.)A boxcar into pancake toss. Again.Devotion drills her heels in particle board,which envy stoppers with a plastic peg.

III. Overdrafts Lead to Frozen Account

    My mother taught me Table Tops    which I misheard as “Tater Tots,”    an over-under twirl    that anyone can learn.

IV. Selling Short against the Box

Does any muse remember former glory?Kim starred at a pep rally, manifesting [End Page 129] gold lamé, sequined make-up, sequinedleotard, and Wonder Woman arm guards.

I see it all, the high crackling tossagainst the gym’s vaulted mesosphere,

the spun gold blur of her, my slowdawning that talent loops and underscoops

where least sought and to make useof it takes tolerance of repetition.

She staked a long position, payablewhen the band strikes and purling clowns come due.

V. In Closing, Let Us Now Set Up a Q-Tip Trust

To you I do bequeath the revenues from all my Certificates of Participation    and Deposit.

To you goes trickle-down luck.To you, Kim, my creative playthings: blocks, charcoals, tuitions,    and camps.To you, Harriet the Spy wishing for a Lite Brite box.Recitations from The Golden Treasury of Poetry, selected    and with a commentary by Louis Untermeyer,    currently out of print: have them.

Because you do not envy me, you do not want these things.Nonetheless, they are yours.

A portion of Intellectual Capital do I hold in reserve,    for I have many Beloveds,But take these proceeds, written out to you. [End Page 130]

Julie Sheehan

Julie Sheehan ’s three poetry collections are Bar Book, Orient Point, and Thaw. She is a Whiting Writers’ Award winner, and her poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker and Best American Poetry. She teaches in and directs the mfa program at Stony Brook Southampton.



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