Sunday, July 01, 2001

Rachel Harper Joseph


The line that leads the eye
from the thin-boned foot
to the birdwing gap...

(step right up and listen close)

"Observe your God
in seven by two
by two

(the sign said "Come See Christ On Fire")

I slipped my ticket
under my tongue
and took a seat
by the tentpole.

(Save This Coupon #47305)

In the darkened tent
a naked man
is kept asleep
in a case of glass

(the line that leads from head to waist)

His eyes are glued shut--
not sleeping.
His arms weigh nothing.
And that is all of the show.

The man down front

(call him turtle, if you will)

is the first to move
in an hour of silence

(wrappers, coughing, murmurs, sighs)

He lifts his bulk
from the folding chair
and stamps his foot,

A wrinkled woman

(who hasn't won the lottery, in all these years)

clutches her bag
and spits out:

"Pisspots! Fraud!"

They tear up their tickets and leave.

(Sa Th Cou #472)....

The disappointed crowd
surges out of the tent
while the talker smokes cigarettes
under the stairs.

Alone, in the dark
an hour of silence

(              )

I rise and walk to the case..

a fishline is thread
from cheekbone to brow

(I see now, that it's not really glue)

but he is awake
and he sees me...

(I am as simple as vertical travel)

An inch from the glass

my breath becomes white

I place my hands

on the front of the case


they come back
minus some skin.

Rachel Harper Joseph is a scenic artist from Philadelphia, PA.

Rachel Harper Joseph Colin Van Der Woude William Cannon Rae Burton Peter Wilson

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