Kate Ruebenson

Kate Ruebenson

Like Magic

 

I

And for this act I will

vanish into thin air. You will

see only my body. You will

know where it lays. You will

imagine my gray-scale flesh chosen

by smaller things. You will try

not to. We agree it’s disgusting.

 

II

Perhaps I will alter the act

to further impress. You will not see

my body at all. You will see what

remains briefly, describe as soft

to the touch, like but you won’t

be able to compare it.

 

Throw my details into a river

moving swiftly towards the unquestioning

enigma of sea or field of Northwest roses

unable to piece together again, unable to

pick me back up. I will ask you not to

retrieve, not re-gather. That is the not-me. I’ll be

doing the elsewhere dance of not

hiding not seen.

 

III

How do people disappear? Together

in the campus library, our very solid thumbs

against soft pages, petting texts like pets, waiting

to finish this chapter. The you becomes

the I, the living.

 

IV

I look into the eyes of a woman I never knew you

photographed in Cambodia. (You had asked me to come).

We knew of each other’s existence by heart: you were

in Angkor Wat when I was in California, reading

your postcard under the backyard lemon tree.

 

I live in Brooklyn now.

And you? Can you describe

the drapes, drinks, doors?

 

V

For your next disappearing act, I wish you’d be

kidding, that you weren’t so good at everything you did.

 

Kate Ruebenson is a Brooklyn-based poet and Adjunct Professor of English at City University of New York. She graduated with her MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College in June 2016. Her work has previously appeared in Roanoke Review, Yellow Chair Review, Typehouse Magazine, Words, The Blue Hour, C4 Magazine, and Hanging Loose Press. Her poem “Crow Goes Hungry” was nominated for a Pushcart last year.