The Magic of Living – John Delaney

Out of the proverbial top hat,
like a rabbit, pulled.
Imagine that
was your beginning!
The tooth fairy,
Santa Claus,
friends with extraordinary
powers turned your focus
into addiction
with hocus-pocus
and fiction.
Language lent
a sleight-of-hand
to every word
that you would understand.
It could animate the heartless,
motivate the remote,
dictate the absurd—
then capture
the impossible, conjure up
the invisible.
With youth and health
you could pretend
there was no end.
Love made you a mind reader;
compassion and forgiveness,	
a sword-swallower.
Everything was billed
as “death-defying”
because you were a survivor.
The days spilled
Even in hard times
your soft smile
could fool us,
and make-believe
this was worth your while.
All acts would lead
to your straitjacket escape,
when the drums rolled
as they drew back
the black drape
and opened the locks:
a shroud of linen in an empty box.

In 2016, I moved out to Port Townsend, WA, after retiring as curator of historic maps at Princeton University Library. I’ve traveled widely, preferring remote, natural settings, and am addicted to kayaking and hiking. In 2017, I published Waypoints (Pleasure Boat Studio, Seattle), a collection of place poems. Twenty Questions, a chapbook, appeared in 2019 from Finishing Line Press.

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