A Star Is Born

The teacher drones Geography
While Kate discovers her new name.
Three she has; she hates all three.
“Kate” has long outlived its time,

She being out of pigtails now,
Imagining a future life
Of sequin sparkle, footlight glow,
In which she is nobody’s wife,

Unshackled to a
Butts or Snodgrass.
Why are boys named “Doc” and “Bud”?
Any “Pudge” will be a lard-ass;
Every Elmer is a Fudd.

She tries to mutate “Katherine”
Into something bright and starrable,
But “Kathy” is plain as a bobby pin
And “Kat” is plainly horrible.

Now Mr. Grobb pokes with his pointer
A map-dot he calls “Tivoli,”
A name that any Kate might ponder
As suiting her most suitably.

The thought occurs she clutches a hoard
Of names to bring her fame and luck;
To her shall be revealed the Word,
Her Name, in the geography book;

The small-print index shall provide.
Katherine Braxton Hobbs, thirteen
Years old, deceased—as certified
Venezuela Aberdeen.
After 40 years of English teaching at UNCG, Fred Chappell retired in 2004. There
was a sigh of relief on both sides. His most recent book of poetry is
Backsass from LSU
Press. 2007 will see some of his series of tales about a Shadow Master published in such
august journals as
Weird Tales and Fantasy & Science Fiction.