She works alone, or so it seems, the dark room with hanging mike and headphones
a sensory deprivation chamber. She repeats the lines again and again to get the timing right. Not the muse,
nor the singer, she says someone else’s words. When the blonde teen speaks in any movie, Gemma is her voice,
italiana, all those vowels wrong for how that mouth moves, but the ice-lined tone just right.
She speaks for her, ventriloquizer, when she acts on television, too. Cruel when she needs to be, when Ashley is,
she can steal a boy or scene. When the red light turns off, she is not in a hotel, nor high school,
no garish sets waiting to be made real. She’s a brunette, in fact, can have dinner in a piazza
while le ragazze giggle in groups. They would know her voice, if she spoke, but not her face.
-- Lisa Ampleman is the author of Full Cry (NFSPS Press, 2013), winner of the Stevens Manuscript Competition, and I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You (Kent State University Press, 2012), winner of the Wick chapbook competition. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Kenyon Review Online, 32 Poems, Image, Massachusetts Review,New Ohio Review, New South, Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. She lives in Cincinnati, where she is the managing editor of The Cincinnati Review.