Madeleine Mori | Poem

Rotoscope

Ghosts are like our otherselves in the multiverses grown
……….from every choice we didn’t select, rapping their knuckles

against the walls of their box, trying to find the false door
……….for another shot back in this world. In Red Hook’s oldest bar,

I sip two fingers for J’s death with a few Johnny Walkers,
……….fixed as if with rope to each salt-born hand.

They look at me like absinthe, like a hallucinogen lurks inside.
……….I knock my fist against the bar, which causes the man

at the opposite end to shoot his gaze at me, his eyes a flash of green.
……….The horn’s sinister opening of “St. James Infirmary” drifts

from the speakers and Cab Calloway’s version
……….in that old Betty Boop cartoon comes to mind.

More than singing, he was known for his dancing, a pallbearer’s
……….pitter patter sketched over to make him a ghost,

the animation so lifelike you can almost see the sweat
……….stacked in gorgeous rings. The hospital never quite told me

who got the donation of J’s green eyes—where they lived,
……….what they liked to drink. A man 69 years old received restoration of sight.

Tell me. I know nothing of ophthalmology. When fresh retina is braided
……….into burnt fibers, do the living see through the dead,

the tender hurts my lover saw overlaid upon the stranger me?
……….I keep entering boxes, keep knocking.

The man punches my favorite song into the jukebox, starts to tell me
……….a story about angels and I think Maybe this is the door back.

.

.


Madeleine Mori is a Japanese-American poet and winemaker originally from San Francisco. She received a BS in Wine and Viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, judged by Suzanne Lummis. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Aperçus QuarterlyBOAAT, and Bone Bouquet, among others. She is currently an MFA candidate at New York University, where she serves as Co-Poetry Editor of Washington Square Review, and lives in Brooklyn.
2018-01-22T11:11:15+00:00 January 16th, 2018|