To Margot Kidder, With Love
I spent the summer of 1980 with Margot Kidder,
made her my surrogate on those hot Friday afternoons
when my mother would dump me at the movie theatre,
flying off to her other life faster than Superman.
They all knew me at the counter, asking
for the same ticket every week. I smiled,
perfected my act of being a comic book geek,
but even those indifferent teenagers must have known
what was going on.
I sat in the dark, mouthing the dialogue I learned
like a Shakespearean tragedy as Margot Kidder
beamed down at me from the undercarriage
of an Eiffel Tower elevator commandeered
by terrorists, jumped into the raging Niagara River,
hung from wires for hours as she pretended to fly.
I pretended not to care what my mother was doing,
but I was cashing in part of my childhood to keep up
the charade, as she tucked money in my pocket
for popcorn and a strange phone number
where she could be reached in case of an emergency.
Margot Kidder eased me through rising panic
every Friday at 1 p.m. as I was deposited
on the sidewalk and mother’s car shimmered
like a disappearing mirage, moving bullet time
away from me.
Margot Kidder was Lois Lane.
Feisty, brave, stubborn, in perpetual need of rescue.
Her dark hair, un-pc cigarette dangling,
whiskey voice, in love with the one man
she could never truly have.
Years later, when she had her publicized breakdown,
was found dirty and wandering the streets,
I cried in front of the TV, wishing I could give her
even a fragment of the comfort she gave me
when I was ten and in need of rescue.