The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

stars in the trees3
By Kevin Ridgeway

stammering in my drunkenness,
my tuxedo shirt drenched in cabernet
I tried to carry on awkward conversations
with all of the other wedding guests
but they shunned me, called me “sloppy boy”
I smeared my face with cake and wanted to cry
and then she appeared from the raining city outside
fashionably late, having other commitments
underdressed in her street clothes in the midst
of evening gowns, pressed suits and perfume
she had gone to school with my brother
and recognized my elfin face, busted
blood vessels and all, sobbing in the corner
she asked me how the wedding went
and I told her she was the
most beautiful woman in the world,
and a pregnant pause was wedged between us
I dropped my pants and began to dance
the Charleston in front of her and everyone
in eye view, repeating my praise of her
and then urinated on the sidewalk outside

pictures were taken; I was ushered off to rehab
while she went on to star in films and television
she would appear on the cover of a magazine
the reporter writing the article called her
“the most beautiful woman in the world”

at least I was right about something that night.

(Originally appeared in Bank-Heavy Press: Doughnut Touch Me!)

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