Authors and Poets
Authors and Poets

Photos used with permission from the Academy of American Poets

Last updated:
September 5, 2018
Lori M. Cameron, editor

Ann Stratton vs. the Devil – Anne Babson

Fall 2006, vol. 10, no. 2

In this corner, weighing in at the metric weight of several lifeless planets,
Our defender of the title this evening, still smelling like the bottom of
An outhouse in Martin Luther’s back yard, please yowl and scowl for
The mortar of torture, the anointer of goiter, the sailor of wailing, the
Underworld’s Ugly One.
In this corner, weighing in at the weight of three paperclips and an
Empty carton of soy milk, please welcome our challenger—known
To her friends as the nail salon Samaritan, the beautician in fruition,
The shopper hell-stopper, the lady who lunches and scrunches and crunches,
Suburban New Jersey’s Annie Stratton!

The bell rings, and Ann looks for the doorbell—is there a delivery at the door?
No there is not, just a demon with a pitchfork jabbing for her eyes! Is
Ann just going to stand there and take it? No. she is not—this featherweight

Has all the footwork folks—instead of Everlast boots, like most of the contenders
That come before her, she wears low-slung sling back one-inch pumps of the
preparation of the gospel of peace, folks. She is shifting and dancing, and oh!

What’s this folks? If you thought you were in for a lie-down-and-die fight,
You had something else coming—this is a fight to the finish! Stratton adjusts the
Cocktail rings on her fingers and jabs upward! What’s that technique she’s using?
It’s the sword of the spirit, folks!  That’s right!  This little lady’s got us into a girl
Fight! The defender roars and brings out the brimstone—this is what knocked
The Medici popes on their keister, folks—but Stratton flips back one side of

Hair and takes it without flinching! The big guy reaches a claw out to her—is he conceding the fight this
early in the game? No! Oh! That’s against all the Marquess of Queensbury rules of engagement! He has
grabbed her like a candy bar and is
Trying to chew on her head! But—oh! Listen to that crowd! They got their money’s
Worth tonight! Stratton grabs Him by the nose hairs and yanks down! She’s
Talking in tongues, folks—ugh! That will ruin a manicure but could win her the round!

She’s out of his mouth, and she’s still swinging—lots of fancy footwork—the devil shoots a flaming dart—
that ought to have hit her folks, but it’s like she’s got some kind
Of Teflon coating on her Carolina Herrera suit! It bounces off the rhinestone buttons,
Whoa! In all my years of covering this event, I’ve never seen this! Stratton is straddling
The big guy’s neck and is pounding her fists into his Adam’s apple! No—it’s not her fists, folks—what is
that? She’s whacking with a leather book with gold leaf trim.

What is that—her agenda? No, folks—I can just make out the lettering. She’s got him grounded and she’s
Bible-slapping him. That’s gotta hurt, people! The ref is on the mat And has started counting! Just listen
to those fans from Jersey—three – two – one!
It’s all over!  The devil wants a rematch—maybe next Sunday, but today, Annie Stratton—I’ve not seen
this since Goliath went down—takes the title away from the adversary. The moral of this story to all the
dybbuks out there—don’t mess with this debutante.

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