Return of the Master

Eyes behind a balaclava, that’s all she is
plus a knife
brandished in a satisfied hand
ski mask dampened
where it absorbs her tears of joy
trembling breath, trapped behind black fabric,
anticipatory anxiety like a damsel fly
in awakening dawn as dew dries from its wings
she turns me back around
gets the knife’s point in right above my tailbone
as if to slice off an ancient ancestral deformity
reemerged from deep time like snake legs

I am a man born with fish eyes
hard photosensitive scales of prey
it’s why I am here
how I fall into the trap
climb out and tumble back down
there’s always another woman to lend a hand
to pull the sliver from the monkey’s paw
and take her three wishes
one of which is for me to be other or more than me
and I am not
and the mask goes on
and the bitterness builds as the brain starves of oxygen
and other men
and the blade comes out
tender and malicious
stuck in, out of my reach and sight
in my fish-eyed blind spot
I wag my tail into my deepest sleep
forever the daft dog,
hopeful for the master’s return


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