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.
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.
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.
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?
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.