by Jim Dodge
Magic is not the manipulation of appearance.
It is the expropriation of the real.
Not mastered sleights blurred with patter
but the actual rabbit in every hat.
No tricks. Not the key to the shackles
from her mouth to his
passed in a good-luck kiss
just before they chain him in the trunk
and drop it in the cold, real river.
Not the key, but the kiss itself,
as wild as the release within us
when he floats out of the weighted trunk
and from the river bottom begins to rise,
escaping the skilled deceit,
freed from the illusion of escape.