The Magician

You continue to watch the disappearing act,
Determined to catch this moment between visible and gone.
The rabbit is gone. Soon another.
A pigeon dipped-blue nosedives into a scarf
And it is gone. The silk square with it.
The woman is gone, of course; she was a pretty brunette,
You already know this, just as you remind yourself how you’ll remember her
When you see a face with a similar complexion.
Over and over it will come,
The magician as awestruck as you,
He can’t believe it either,
As pettingzoo goats, potbellied pigs,
Carousel herds vanish from his stage.
Finally three grown elephants.
Perhaps you’ve heard
that he does not sleep anymore, the magician,
because one night he woke up to his answering machine
flashing, and a voice that said

I no longer love you. And please return my things to their original state.
Return the swallows to their canvas and silence my violin.
I long to play it myself again.
Please return my pillows to their normal size and take the bananatree away.
Fruit cannot be grown in diningrooms.

He’ll let you in for free if you bring your videocamera,
If he may borrow your tapes, and he will watch them all.
He will rewind them, pause them night after night, he does not blink,
Because like you, he can’t believe it either,
That somewhere between his gloved fingers hums a system that is beyond him,
The blossoming of being into absence,
And the reason why,
Over and over again,
They are not the things themselves but the departed spaces that seem more real.

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