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.