Today's poem is by Robyn Schiff

On the Abduction of Calvin Klein's Daughter Marci: A Captor's Narrative

Eternity, Escape, and Obsession fly the same neutral flag
in three shades of overcast steel. I was raised under it
in an orphanage with Brooke Shields and Kate Moss,
but everyone's my Daddy,
and we could hear the wind yawn through our birth
certificates. I was always one step behind,
an expendable caddy, while Kate carried the
burden of marking the nuance
where gray and grey collide

over the Atlantic and Brooke dated the Jordanian Prince.
We were ambassadresses from childhood, paid to live with
you like Jane Eyre and Pip. I remember Brooke
telling me reading is to
the mind what Calvins are to the body;
I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the
ruined place; and, as the evening mists had risen
long ago when I first left the
forge, so the morning mists

were rising now, and in the shadow of the uptown bus Calvin
Klein's daughter steps into the vestibule of her highrise.
The press suspected you of staging your own
daughter's kidnapping as a
publicity stunt, but after all these
years, I'm too exhausted to keep accusing you.
That morning on her way to school, Kate, Brooke, and I
convinced Marci to come with us
by telling her you were

about to die. In those days bus tokens had a bull's-eye at their
center; I remember focusing on the two bull's-eyes
in my fifth pocket all morning—one for me
and one for Marci—; you have
to be very small, much smaller than me,
to really use a coin pocket so Kate used to
make a game of placing things deep in ours that Brooke
and I could never retrieve. Kate
was the kind of baby

babies call out baby to from passing baby carriages. What's
cut even too wee for children's hands was cut for hers. Brooke
was the mastermind; when she darkened her smile
Kate knew to draw the tokens
from the portal to a smaller world that
was my pocket and now it was time to think hard
about what would make us weep as we boarded the
city bus with Marci. I don't
have to tell you Kate wept

for the fawns of hell and Brooke for the bucks of earth, but me, I touched
Marci's cold silk dress, and though I told Brooke and Kate I wept
for the worm, I really wept for the death I
came there to report. Your flag
ship has a concrete floor austere as the
cellar we slept in before we were reborn. When
I can't remember the name of my own parent
company, I ask: You know what
comes between me and my

John Calvins? Nothing, except Judaism—and then I recall
the name of the corporation is Puritan. I can
still feel the feel of Marci's throat. I feel left
out sometimes when everyone's
quoting Traherne and Donne. I feel the bleat
vibrate my knife right through the goat. We live it to
the hilt, this life, and then we want still more on the
other side. I used to put a
pillowcase over my

head and haunt the ward just by passing down the aisle between the beds.
Brooke wrote the ransom note in lowercase Futura font
and signed it ckone. She whistled Oh my
darlin' Oh my darlin' Oh
into the heavy black telephone. It
took all Kate's strength to hold the receiver up. Brooke
was the mouth, but I was the ear. I still hear a
rush of water between all the
words I speak. Clementine

was the drowned eldest daughter of a 49er. She slipped right
into the American River. By the time the song
is over, her little sister is married
to the man Clementine loved,
but Kate, Brooke, and I never competed
for your hand. My dress slip is named for her and I
wear it when I want to slip into my childhood
to salvage something Kate slipped long
ago into my hip

pocket. What do I carry I outgrew the will to touch? Kate, Brooke,
and I never competed for this land, but it's ours as
much as anyone's. Bill Clinton said it was
wrong to manipulate us
children for commercial benefit; it
should not have been for profit. The nation is yet
very, very young and anything can happen;
I have Knicks courtside seats and great
expectations. I saw

you come staggering into the game, Calvin Klein, and there, into
the ear of Latrell Sprewell, heard you pardon us all for
our anger. I can feel the ball in my hands.
I can feel the boundaries
of the game come to pass.

Copyright © 2008 Robyn Schiff All rights reserved
from Revolver
University of Iowa Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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