The Deadman

	        After Marvin Bell

The Deadman speaks in sentences 
but rarely paragraphs.  He wears boots 
with silver buckles and walks 
without a sound.  His hat and coat 
exaggerate his height.  Unlike other 
wrestlers, the Deadman doesn’t need 
applause to prove that he exists.  
He mostly moves above the waist, 
his gestures plain from the back row.  
The Deadman’s x-rays always blur.  
Likewise MRIs, though he holds 
perfectly still.  He controls light 
and fire with his mind.  His burns 
are first degree.  The Deadman 
works 19 days a year, but only 6
of those are matches.  Even if 
he wrestles first, he’s still the main event.  
No matter where he dresses, 
the Deadman runs the locker room.  
He shakes hands because he must.  
His palms are neither moist nor dry, 
hot nor cold.  His grip has nothing
left to prove.  The Deadman disappears 
at will, but he always returns.  
He did not invent his famous matches—
Hell in a Cell, Buried Alive—
but he perfected them.  The Deadman 
can be surprised, but never by himself.

Copyright © 2015 Carrie Shipers. Originally published in Conduit, Spring 2015. Used with permission of the author.