Fall 2016

Edited by Andrea Spofford | Amy Wright | Barry Kitterman


​Love Poem to Daniel Bryan

Summer 2013

​Carrie Shipers

Dear Daniel Bryan, I understand how small
you feel beside your tag-team partners,
a monster in a crimson mask and a viper

covered in tattoos.  All you have is a beard,
the way you climb the ropes and thrust
your arms to make the crowd chant

yes, yes, yes, every night a fresh surprise
that you have fans.  At five-ten
and two hundred pounds, you’re built

more like a ref than a wrestler, and backstage
you can’t stop worrying that you’re
the team’s weak link.  Daniel, I know

how it feels to fear that you lack heft,
why you all but beg your partners to say
how good you are, then yell at them

because you hate having to ask and never
quite believe the praise you need to hear. 
I understand how even doing well can lead

to doubt: How many matches will it take
to prove your critics wrong, make you believe
that you belong?  Daniel, like you

I’m either overlooked or under siege
by people with more power, insecure
but tougher than my enemies expect. 

Daniel, I don’t know how many belts
you’ll get, how many injuries or grudges
you’ll rack up or how much longer I’ll tune in

to cheer you on.  But for now I love
the way you wear high-waisted trunks,
goofy hair and heart on sleeve, the way

I answer yes when you run toward
the ring, how every match you win
feels like a victory we’ve earned.

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