As phantoms direct life from the shadows,
I leaned on something,
and it broke.
My father on the porch with his crosswords said,
this must be what it feels like to be dead;
When I returned from the dead there was no one to greet me,
but still you are glad—
I wander the ruins the way my tongue
wanders my missing teeth,
the bricks and mortar of Deep Deuce
rotted like molars in an ancient mouth;
Here Charlie Christian might have walked—
The astrologer counseled patience
and creative imaging:
Step One: Visualize
an object that symbolizes the accursed influence. Picture yourself throwing
it into a furnace.
Step two: Visualize
the person who is responsible for the curse. Imagine one end of a rope
is tied around your waist and the other around that person. Picture yourself cutting
the rope with a chainsaw as you call out, “You have no power over me!”
Step three: Repeat
twice a day for eleven days . . .
You visualize her green boots inside the furnace . . .
—No. You are in a crematorium and you see
her perfect and corruptible body on a tray sliding into fire;
Then you see yourself cutting the rope that ties you together with a saw;
And then at last your own imperfect and corruptible body—I mean, me—calls out
and I jump in after her.