Slight of Hand
BY ALEX GREENBERG
Ethical Culture Fieldston School, ’17
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors’ List
This is a landscape to be sketched & left uncolored.
A boy stands at the crossroads of a ruined city, waving a bell without a whistle.
Consider the tumbleweed of his hair, the muscles in his neck
turned white gossamer, tenuous like black walnuts in summer.
Every rock is a headstone waiting to be named:
Here lies the body of a newborn who saw only light in his life.
A procession of townspeople tours the city as if for the first time,
peers into the cross-section of a house where a boy’s bed has unmade itself.
And the bats locked in his sister’s diary have escaped & lodged their way
into the empty light sockets of her closet. A mother spools
the husks of a broken crib into the dress her daughters will wear
as they drape the flag of the city back over the city gate
& sing the anthem of their bodies. This is all bound to happen again:
the singularity gave us the bedrock for the bomb.