The Grand Illusion
by Maggie Pena
I’m sitting alone in the corner of a room-
darkness all around, but light above-
from somewhere it comes, that little bit,
from somewhere unseen, the light emits.
It must, and so
I’m sitting alone in the corner of a dark room
with the edges of the white walls pinching together over my head
like a squinting eye
It stares right down at me, pinning me to the floor
like a worm,
squashed by the tip-toe of a boot,
that wriggles and convulses,
pinned down to the floor by its own impatient guts.
Where was I in such a hurry to?
I don’t remember now.
I look up to the ceiling and wonder how
the room does continue on.
Is the further wall just as white?
Will some horrid converse come to light
with the slowly creeping dawn?
Creeping like a little worm- all impatient guts and goo,
crying, “Don’t let them see me!
“Don’t let them know!
“Don’t let them come!
“There footfall sounds in unalterable ranks!
“I hear them, hear them,
“nearly see them now,
“and with the dawn, they come creeping and coyly entreating.”
“So will the chasm, too, come to yawn.”
In time, in time;
I am waiting
for the dawn to come illuminating the further wall,
for the boots to come as unalterable law.
In time, in due time;
I am waiting.
I stretch my arms over my head,
the tired sound escaping from my mouth,
and falling out into the darkness of the room,
where the light is dead-
and splattered out into the room like impatient, wormy guts
squirming, squishing, anxious to presume,
The careful tip-toe boot,
The careful tip-toeing of the unalterable sound,
that rings against the further wall,
as all around
the darkness closes in
like an eye squinting on high,
like the eye that squishes me down, closing the darkness down,
until the darkness is all,
is all around.