by Rita Anderson
Just as I am sure you must be around,
sharing a piece of the invisible universe,
somewhere, a gorilla sweats in the shade,
eating aphids from a leafless stick. . .
Not counting trips to the bathroom,
I am down to four hours of sleep and
when I dream I am with Houdini,
swimming in an ocean of liquid ice.
We keep our eyes open, waving
our hands like windshield blades
to recover the exit in the fist-thick ice
overhead. He is better at floating
close to the top where you can
almost catch a breath between waves,
but it will be over soon: for all of his magic,
there is no escaping an ironic end.
In the middle of the ordeal,
I remember this isn't my tragedy
and I am rescued to a warm room
where I remove my brain to soak it
like you could a pair of dentures. --In
the morning when I slip into the kitchen
to pour my son a second bowl of cereal,
he no longer cries, afraid that because
I have exceeded his sight I've disappeared,
and when my right hand hides the red ball
behind the abyss of my back, he anticipates
the left hand’s finding it, certain of its return.