Celestial Ambition
by Yvonne Zipter

Like Lana Turner, I’ve been waiting to be discovered.
Never mind she wasn’t spotted at Schwab’s Drug Store
but at the Top Hat Café. Never mind she wasn’t drinking

a milkshake but a coke and that it wasn’t Mervyn Le Roy,
the director, but Billy Wilkerson of the Hollywood Reporter
who referred her to the agent Zeppo Marx, who got her

that screen test. And never mind I’ve no desire to be
in the movies. I guess what I mean is I want to be like
that recently discovered celestial body, the star formerly

known as HD 86081, the one they’ve now named Bibhā,
which means, in Bengali, “a bright beam of light,”
which is how I want my words to shine, to burn fiercely

as a lantern in the twilit sky of poetry, to twinkle into view
as if I haven’t been here all along. I want to be transformed
from a number to being named: I am still waiting to become.

IMAGE: Stardust by Peter Alexander (1993).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I always thought I wanted to be famous. But what I really want is to write poetry that amazes—me and my readers alike. This poem is about revising that early ambition and, instead, continuing to work at becoming the poet I want to be.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yvonne Zipter is the author of the poetry collections Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound, The Patience of Metal (a Lambda Literary Award Finalist), and Like Some Bookie God. Her poems have appeared in numerous periodicals over the years, as well as in several anthologies. She is also the author of two nonfiction books: Diamonds Are a Dyke’s Best Friend and Ransacking the Closet. Her published poems are currently being sold in Chicago in two repurposed toy-vending machines, a project that was featured on the public television show Chicago Tonight in 2019. The proceeds from the machines are donated to a nonprofit arts organization called Arts Alive Chicago. She provided some of the narration for the documentary A Secret Love. Her Russian historical novel, Infraction, was published June 1, 2021. You can also find photos she’s taken on Instagram. In December 2018, she retired from being a manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press.