by Kelly Shaw
The sky turned into a giant grey
glove, flexing its fingers.
I looked over and winos were
laughing as if the clouds were
dodging comets. Someone tossed
the I-Ching out the window
onto the street below. I rush and
try to hide in a museum. A metal
sculpture gets off its perch
and tiptoes around. A stuffed owl
flutters its wings and flies across
the room. An antique music box
starts playing an old melody.
The paintings drip their paint down
the walls but the colors remember
the arrangement they were in.
Where’s the exit, I asked the uniformed
guard who had the facial features
of my most disastrous lover.
She invited me to ruffle her hair
and we laughed as the mummies threw
postcards out the museum store windows.
Outside, the people shrank and tried
to leap up onto the blue wings
of large birds, soon going to the forests
where it might be too dense for the glove.
The group leader, Mr. C, was wearing
a green-jeweled robe and singing
a pop song into a beer can. I decided
I might as well clean myself up
before my ascension, or grab, so I lay
down into the bathtub, closed my eyes
and let the palms of my hands
skim over the water’s surface.
But Mr. C found me out, put
his hands on my shoulders
and pushed down until water
rushed in over my head. I don’t
know how to stay under, I said,
which did nothing to stop him.
Tell him you’re made of fire so the
water can’t surround you, a guide said.
I did but it came out only like gargle,
so the guide whispered strange things
into my ear, and no longer able to hold
my breath, I flew out of the tub, drenching
Mr. C, and stood ready, just in time, for
the reach and sweep of the giant grey glove.