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
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