The Vanishing Doomed Boy Trick
Morning begins with a blueprint and I erect
my body’s skyscraper with it: seventeen stories
of glass and steel, my reflection in every window.
Even if the body is its own preparation
for failure, who knew it would be this
catastrophic? Or this fun? The streets are a mess
with the debris of a thousand failed Wednesdays
and my chest is ringing.
It’s the foreman. Again.
I can see from my perch at the end of this girder
that tests the air with its rust-colored tongue
that the foreman wears a yellow hardhat and favorite
flannel, a cell glued to his ear. He’s such a nice man.
Down on the street, they’re inflating a lung
of bright plastic. That’s probably my secretary
on the curb. A knot of uniforms is trying to herd her
and a number of other people across the street.
The foreman reminds me I doesn’t have to do this.
I shout back, “the temporary respite
that insanity offers is still on the table,
And while I scratch myself in places
that are inappropriate, I promise I’m in no danger.
Even if this brain is a malfunctioning bumper car,
and I am a forgotten grammar without cases,
the trees are peeling with an arboreal mange,
and I hold in his hand the dried-out hearts
of every mouse who ever chewed insulation,
I can say I’m fairly comfortable
trusting the lime green paradox of the mojito.
Listen to these electric hymns to mosquitos,
all the symmetries evolution gave up on
when it put us together.
Now watch me disappear.
Eric Smith’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Five Points,
Greensboro Review, Measure, Pleiades, and Smartish Pace. He is an
editor for Cellpoems and teaches at Marshall University.