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If I Began to be a Kind of Magical Guest,
Then Others Work There

By Laura Madeline Wiseman


say  there  were  only fog,  Houdini-like,  hard

to   define   places  in   that  building  where I

wouldn’t  go  or  touch.   There  were  doors  I

wouldn’t open  and  window  sills  with  brass

clasps   firmly   shut.   The  floors  were  wood

then, the cabinets. On  the  walls were shelves

your   papa   built   from  scrap,   though  all  I

remember of what was  enshrined  there were

library   books  on   tape—one   book  program

selections,   travelogues,   lifting   guides.  You

told me  that the  air felt  safe  to breathe, but

you never  felt  the  dust’s  bite  in  the  lungs.

The linens  were  stained,  threadbare,  heavily

bleached,  yet  the  sweat and dirt of the place

made      audiobooks       dreamlike,      almost

supernatural.  I  vanished   into  what  spooled

into the  air  where  I  moved  my  body  alone.

When I  tiptoed  to windows,  bunnies wiggled

in   clover   on   the    parking.    Men   dragged

branches    across    shadowy   alley   stretches.

Smokers   stood   outside   back   entrances  as

mutts  circled,  stirring  up  the mists  from the

street     grates.     Though     the    streetlights

couldn’t    reach   me,    the   noise    did.    The

pressure      created      dissociations,     bodies

floating   far  off,  tethered  by  strange strings

hooked    to   the  throat.   When   I   told   you,

you   said  nothing.  I asked  again, still nothing.

Could   a   building   crush?   Could    it  bind   a

body   with   locks,  then   drop  it  underwater?

Could  it  saw someone in  half, turn them into

a  dove, a  plastic bouquet, a  handkerchief,  a

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink), twice nominated for the Elgin Award. Her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Abyss & Apex, Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, Red Rose Review, Star*Line, Silver Blade, and elsewhere. Her latest book is Through a Certain Forest (BlazeVOX [books] 2017).

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