KATY GIEBENHAIN is an MPhil candidate at University of Glamorgan in Wales. Poems have appeared in Bordercrossing-Berlin, American Life in Poetry, and Prairie Schooner and are forthcoming in The SHOp and Writing by Ear. She works in the non-profit communications sector and lives in Pennsylvania.

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       James Bond and the Diabetic Bridesmaid

       What would Q think?

       This is the time
       before pens, when bottles
       were the order of the day,
       when syringes were sealed like fish
       in their plastic sleeves.

       This is the time
       post-License to Kill, pre-Golden Eye
       where one of six bridesmaids
       has much to learn
       about Fendi sling-backs, the need
       to conceal, and things Episcopalian.

       This is the scene beforehand:
       A Hilton bedspread,
       glucose tablets pinched in florist wire
       for roses and Monte Cassinos
       in tomorrow’s bouquet,
       a Medic-Alert bracelet slung
       beside garters for
       under-the-head-table injections.

       She’s ruled some things out:
       the knife holder from Chinatown,
       now unsnapped from her thigh,
       jellybeans hand-sewn to bra straps,
       elastic candy wristlets,
       to bite at the slightest low.

       This is the time
       to be homesick for Q, his practicality,
       his knowledge of her weak spots,
       and his tricks
       for all of life outside the lab.

       She rarely has to lie.

       No rooftop chase through Istanbul, this
       is undercover all the same.
       And it’s increments further
       than a throaty “trust no one, James.”
       She cannot trust her own body.

       This is the film’s end,
       the freeing of sharks
       and polishing of cars, the pause.
       This is her yearning
       for that impossible switch
       to auto-pilot.


       Another Ex-Expatriate

       I live my life in widening rings
       which spread over earth and sky.
       I may not ever complete the last one,
       but that is what I will try.
—Rainer Maria Rilke

       I live my life in widening rings
       caught by a tug umbilical that brings
       its welcome-backs in hula hoops of sound
       invisible, from hip to ground _
       reaching for unreachable things.
       I live my life in widening rings

       which spread over earth and sky
       pierced by airplane landings. Good bye
       is what I say each morning
       to the country of my adulthood. A warning
       against future hellos and links I forever untie
       which spread over earth and sky.

       I may not ever complete the last one,
       the final split. But I’m done
       chasing this untethering, this fresh remorse
       westward-bound without a horse
       and a future roping ovals at the sun.
       I may not ever complete the last one

       but that is what I will try _
       an emigrant back with a prodigal sigh
       and half a heart across the sea,
       a part-person unable to be free,
       found, finally, no longer my own self’s spy,
       but that is what I will try.


       The Boxer’s Dog

       The boxer’s Irish Wolfhound
       palms a basketball across hardwood,
       basks in our mirrored glances,
       eats like a giant goat.
       Wine corks, doll’s hands, ibuprofen,
       entire towels have gone through him.
       He lopes past Sharkey’s photo,
       and the speed bags,
       toward Ali and the line
       of Cuban newsprint shoulders.

       Hematite eyes and surfer-hair
       charm us blind until
       my elbow disappears inside his mouth
       with delicate, peach-picking speed.

       The air crackles. Just a reminder.
       His ancestors could
       drag soldiers from their horses,
       trained forces in the fog.
       Then he’s gentle again, and grinning.
       Mascot, brother, myth
       he knows the stance: remain
       about to spring, but only about to.