Beaver Island's Poet Laureate?

Melissa Bailey, a sophomore at the Beaver Island Community School, and daughter of Mike and Jayne Bailey, has won a poetry contest organized by the Albion Review, which is the literary journal of Albion College.  The purpose of the Review is to identify and support outstanding emerging writers, and to showcase their work alongside that of established writers.  1150 entries were submitted of which 580 were from high school students.  Melissa's poem, "A Love Affair With The Radiologist" brings her not only recognition for her wonderful talent, but a check for $200; a copy of Todd Marshall's debut book of poetry "Dare Say" which has won both critical acclaim and award; a copy of the Albion Review; and her winning poem will be featured in the 2003 Albion Review.  Congratulations, Melissa!  Below is a copy of the winning poem.

A Love Affair with the Radiologist

by Melissa Bailey

I thought first,

his fingers are very small,

how can I shake them

without my hand sliding off?

Then I thought,

his facial hair is perfectly straight;

his haircut is not.

I slid my legs together

when I walked, so that he could see the


make him wish that he could turn it

upside down and watch

the sand go down.

I thought, his eyes are very blue,

but not they are not too light.

I don't have to squint to see them.

I like that.

I think that I will marry him.

"This is where we do the CAT scans."

I thought, I am a CAT.

He laughs like a little boy.

I tried to stand very close to him

when he stopped to point at

an x-ray being taken

of a blond woman's esophagus.

I looked at him from the corner of my eye,

and asked about the machines;

imagined quickly

being locked in a room,

talking over barium drinks,

and looking at R-rated x-rays

of our bodies

under the romance of the fluorescent lights.

And I remember thinking,

he does not look like the picture

on his name tag,

maybe he is not who he says he is.

We turn to each other.

"I'm listening."

"Yeah," he confessed, "I know."

I think, We are married.

"I like bones," I said after that,

"maybe I could be a radiologist, too."

I thought,

Then I could be with you, my love,

and I could show you all my bones.

But I didn't say it out loud, even though

I opened my mouth to.

I am still thinking

about him and his great white machines,

about having to lay before him

while they glide over me.

I make a note to myself,

while he explained the procedure for a


learn his last name---

never forget it.

    "That's the end of the tour."

My heart gasps for a breath;

he motions with his hand

to follow him to the lobby.

I can see his very small fingers

curling into a fist.

We walk close together,

shoulders barely inches apart,

to the hall.

I do not want to leave this man

all alone in a radioactive room.

I am afraid he will die.

Maybe, I think with my eyes

pushing hard on the blue carpet

in front of me,

I have an extra bone,

that I do not need.

I could give it to him.

We come to the lobby.

Neither of us turn to leave.

Take my bones. Take them out from under me.

Just one more barium drink

in the back room,

my heart pleads;

just one more.

Then I will have the strength to leave.

"If you are ever involved in something

radiological," he says,

"call me," and smiles.

He holds out those very small fingers.

I shake them,

and my hand does not slide off.

I think,

I am married.

17th Annual Talent Show

April 11th marked the island's annual talent show.  Former island resident, Pat McGinnity, began this tradition and this year she returned to the island to see the show.  The event was dedicated to our brave men and women serving our country.  In spite of the best intentions, not all acts were caught by the camera.  Due to the lighting and distance from the stage, please forgive the quality of the photos.  Special thanks to my husband, Joe, who helped take some of the pictures.

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TalentShow-Hannah.jpg (41729 bytes)    TalentShow-Herkman.jpg (47269 bytes)    TalentShow-Jeff.jpg (48305 bytes)    TalentShow-Kristle.jpg (43465 bytes)

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TalentShow-MaureenKrystleBailey.jpg (51509 bytes)    TalentShow-SheriKristen.jpg (42637 bytes)    TalentShow-Signe.jpg (35377 bytes)    TalentShow-Strider.jpg (49177 bytes)

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We've Been Liberated!!

meeting-the-acacia.jpg (107028 bytes)Photo by Jeff Cashman

Like the battles going on across the ocean for the liberation of Iraq, Beaver Island has also been freed.  Freed from isolation... freed from ice that can be measured not in inches but feet... freed, not from Saddam, but from Old Man Winter.  Who were our liberators?  What government entity was brave enough to venture out and come to our rescue?  The United States Coast Guard, that's who!

iceb3.jpg (57185 bytes)Photo by Phil Gregg

While the rest of the world considered the 21st of March to be the first day of spring, Beaver Islanders mark the first day of spring as the day the Coast Guard arrives via the Acacia to break the ice out of the harbor.  This year it was an extremely difficult task due to the exceptionally cold weather we had.  Islanders greet this day as something special, almost a holiday.  Kids are released from school to gather at the boat dock and cheer as the blue of Lake Michigan makes its appearance through the fissures in the white ice.  This year the harbor was decorated with American flags on every lamp post and yellow ribbons throughout the town area.  You could almost touch the feeling of relief as our own version of the Marines arrived.  They didn't help tear down a statue, but they did make an opening in the ice that, provided the wind blows the right direction, will allow the Emerald Isle to make her first trip of the season.  That trip is needed as we're running low on quite a few things after all these months of bondage.

the-dent.jpg (68552 bytes)Photo by Jeff Cashman
ferrydent3.jpg (38405 bytes)Photo by Phyllis Moore

Trying to navigate a ship that is 180 feet long and that draws 12 feet, 8 inches in a harbor that is full of thick ice and sandbars due to low lake levels is a difficult job.  Add to that, trying to cut the ice close to the ferry dock and the Emerald Isle it becomes like trying to thread a needle wearing boxing gloves.  Despite how careful one is, accidents do happen.  That's what occurred today and thankfully nobody was hurt and any damage was simply cosmetic not structural when the bows of both ships touched.  It was a plain and simple accident, certainly not a deliberate maiming of the island carrier of goods.  To our liberators: we know it was a accident and we certainly are not pointing fingers nor blaming anyone.  Everyone is human and accidents do happen.  Those of us who live here year 'round are just so glad that the Coast Guard does come and open the harbor.  It's a party day.  Town is filled with people, folks are hugging and kissing, kids are jumping up and down.. heck, if we had a brass band, it would probably be playing too.

iceb2.jpg (46657 bytes)Photo by Phil Gregg

So, while the Iraqis are celebrating their freedom, so are those hearty Beaver Islanders who have survived another winter locked within a 15 by 7 mile area, bound by ice and cold.  While the Iraqis are hugging the Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy folks, we'd hug the crew of the Acacia if they hadn't been off so quickly to free other communities on Lake Michigan.  To the United States Coast Guard, thanks for coming to liberate us!

Page Two of the News on the 'Net