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A Perfect Likeness

There's a particular way of painting where the edges
dissolve across a surface, and that's how the end may come,

by clutching my hand inside your hand like a precision tool
to steady it. The sides of the gilded, ornate eggshell

swivel open --- an armada of miniature, Gothic figurines
on one panel, something even tinier and more delicate
on the other --- and it is between those two alternatives,
a street scene exhaled onto a slide under a microscope,

a series of taxi-cabs rushing en abyme toward sparkling fenders,
that the as yet undiscovered, unendurable poignance
comes to rest. Runways they're building to welcome him home
extend out over the lazy, upturned gaze below, a diving-board
curved at the tip of the gangplank.
                                                                      Soon as the sleepwalker
reaches his own past silences, solidified from long neglect,
the walking dissipates into
                                                       another stripe of grey pavement.
For such a popular city, the sidewalks themselves are bland.
The fever of inspiration came to a halt, and I stammered, since
it was my turn at the microphone: Destiny, or destiny
trumped up like a sagging trampoline . . . and then the next
time personal information is circulated around the water cooler,
the idlers will have something to really celebrate, a modern folk song.
And a pair of silk slippers should help our toes leave the earth.