Vanishing Act

I sweat under this hat, these shining lights,
white dove feathers sticking to my coat.
Get in the box, you say, and I already know

If I stuff myself in this box, might have to
dislocate my shoulder, slam it on the table,
hear it dislodge as the fractures inside me
crack and fall through the trapdoor like
petals raining to the cellar. When you
cover my torso with cloth and break a glass
on my teeth, they’ll see how I swallow
these jagged shards. You laugh, steal a smoke
from the front row that disappears in your palm.

Audience, open your eyes. This card says
my future is swords. You stab them, count
seven through my back, graze my throat,
carve my bones, a clean dismemberment.
The blade you pull from your esophagus
cuts into spine, under a rib, my sunken heart.
I’m sawed in half trying to poof out of air.

When you cut off my middle, throw it out.
The people will clap, parched and glamorous.
My insides are only for you. The outsides
contort for hypnosis, for shuffling cards,
stuffing rabbits in a hat, transmogrification.

You and your secret room of frauds
stick me with wax, and I roll the dice.
What happened to that vanishing cigarette?
It’s burning your hair, your skin, this sideshow.

Belicia Rhea was born under a waning crescent moon in the Sonoran Desert. Read more of her work in Ligeia, Nightmare Magazine, and various horror anthologies. More: