Like a violin

wishing it were a piano.     Like a cirrus cloud
afraid of heights.

Like a Nobel scientist
unsure of the science.   Like a barn   with hay-fever.

Like a lake afraid of being too deep.   Like a song
with a headache.

Like an electrified fence
wanting more than anything   to be touched.

Like loose gravel   dreaming of something more concrete.
Like a pair of glasses

splitting up.   Like a leaf
turning over a new one of itself.   Like a swarm of bees

desiring it were something else,   like perhaps
a swarm of butterflies.

Like a world in which
all of this could happen,   at least in the body of a poem,

as if a poem could be the magical stage
for all this coming true,

like in a dream I once had
where everyone was within my dream,   & we all dreamt

our private fantasies,   all our wished-for metaphors
coming true,   & all the ones

we were afraid of
coming to fruition, too,   though the world went on

like a train devoid of wheels or a kite without a tail
or a dog bereft of its bark

or a boat lacking a deck,
& the poem continued    like a map stripped of its borders

or a sky sucked of its air,    metaphors penning themselves
as if they were

eagles inventing flight
or fish     swimming the sea into existence;

& the sun     shone itself into a new day, like a new word
making a baby smile,

or like the babbled words
a baby blurts out     but no one understands,     not yet.

 
 

Once I lived a life in miniature,

my body     the size of a shot glass,
my hands

the size of peas.
Maybe I wasn’t quite proportional;     maybe my feet

were too big for my knees.     My voice
was kept at a whisper

no matter how loudly I screamed,
& my stomach got full     once my food grazed my mouth.

My friends were mice     accompanying me for my cheese,
& my parents

were perennially disappointed
with the diminutive offspring     I’d turned out to be.

But I was a giant among beetles     & a god to the ants;
I was accomplished

as a burglar
by slipping through the cracks.     I kept things in perspective

through the use of my magnifying glass;     & in the darkest,
most moonless nights,

I felt as small
& insignificant     as anyone a thousand times my size.

 

Jonathan Greenhause

Winner of the 2017 Prism Review Poetry Contest and finalist in the 2017 Pinch Literary Award in Poetry, Jonathan Greenhause's poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Antigonish Review, december, The Fiddlehead, LitMag, Prairie Fire, The Rialto, and Subtropics, among others.His 2nd chapbook, “Secret Traits of Everyday Things,” was a finalist in last year’s Annual Chapbook Contest from Encircle Publications and will be published this September.

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