In the evening we searched his rooms,
looking for reasons,
words to serve
as talisman against unease.
Perhaps an homunculus, we thought,
carp lips pressed against the glass of the jar,
a waxy fingered Hand of Glory, or a book
whose binding once was worn
by one less cautious then ourselves.
We prowled the debris
pausing at each door,
where dusty room telescoped into dusty room
without one riddle to amaze us.
Despairing of marvels, we settled for mockery,
danced on the magician's sofa,
swung from his chandelier
and burst through one last door to find
The magician himself,
single eye a dulled mirror
sprawled in a bouquet of scarves,
and scattered across the floor,
some sequined, linings tobacco spackled
others drab as the breast of a dead pigeon.
But each when opened released,
like a dove from a hat,
a single phrase
Copyright © 2004 Jack Heazlitt
Jack Heazlitt is a 62 year old web developer and occasional bartender living in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1992 he co-founded the Saturday Salon, a short-lived, highly productive, Louisville crit group. His previous work has been geared to public performance and the poem above is the sole example currently in print. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.