KARAOKE NIGHT AT THE DEAD DAD CLUB
O, Britney and Whitney.
O, heaven out of cellphone range.
I've been waiting forever for my name
to appear on the Olympus touchscreen, waiting
for my song to go unchosen. This backroom
stage rises in a cloud of smoke like voices
caught in cotton candy light. This is the moment
the near-drownings in my white-tiled confessional
were for. Someday, this hurt will be so far from me
I won't remember the chorus. Open mouth,
I’m ready. O, show me how to hold
the mic. Show me bare and flooded.
See, I don't want to be groomed
for spotlight shine. I won't practice the choreography.
I want to believe in perfection
never trained, born deserving.
Less Aguilera, more Athena, sprung
from dad's expanding skull, kicked through
the ear drums and lifted—
because one foot above is still the highest point
in this room. O, power ballad,
O, rap interlude, please make me and everyone
see at last what my mother sees
when she finds me, crouched
in the shower in my church clothes:
There you are, she says, my star.
Katie Moulton's recent work appears in Village Voice, Ninth Letter Online, Quarterly West, and others. She is the winner of the 2013 Devil's Lake Driftless Prize in Fiction, and her work has been supported by fellowships from Indiana University and OMI International Arts Center. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where she works at a historic theater and deejays for indie radio.