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;
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.
"Yeah," he confessed, "I know."
I think, We are married.
"I like bones," I said after that,
"maybe I could be a radiologist, too."
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 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.
We've Been Liberated!!
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!
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.
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.
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!