What to Wear on the Day I Might Die

By Emari DiGiorgio 


It might rile up the bull,
but any gypsy grandmother who worships the cornicello
knows red resists evil. Hidden beneath clothes
like a narc’s slim-fit Kevlar vest, or on the outside like a badge.

On the day I might die, I spurn sensible shoes.
I once sprinted eight long Manhattan blocks in boots
to catch the last Jersey-bound bus from Port Authority.
Chest heaving past Hoboken.

If the threat scrawled in the middle stall of the men’s room
is real, a pack of kids might pull semi-automatic assault rifles
from lacrosse bags at noon. A pipe bomb planted
in the decorative cabbages could detonate when I park.

But the reaper could be a god-loving high school flutist
who forgets the right of way, or my good heart might implode,
like the fit young quarterback’s from Kansas State.
How quickly the crowd moves to blame the coach, the game,

the parents. Consider the terror of the young boy from Tafalla,
who must’ve watched the bull struggle in the electric fence,
before it jumped from the arena to the stands, trampling him.
I’ve never wanted to be a bullfighter, but I imagine

I could stick the banderillas in the bull’s shoulder and neck.
Not out of ritual or performance, not for art, unless staying alive
is art. Which is what I’ll tell myself, crouched in a dumpster
as a trenched youth helicopters across campus.


Previously published in Conte and The Things a Body Might Become (Five Oaks Press, 2017).


About the Author

Emari DiGiorgio is the author of Girl Torpedo (Agape, 2018), the winner of the 2017 Numinous Orison, Luminous Origin Literary Award, and The Things a Body Might Become (Five Oaks Press, 2017). She’s the recipient of the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, the Ellen La Forge Memorial Poetry Prize, the Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize, RHINO’s Founder’s Prize, the Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award, and a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She’s received residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and Rivendell Writers’ Colony. She teaches at Stockton University, is a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation poet, and hosts World Above, a monthly reading series in Atlantic City, NJ.

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