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Man Proof

by: James Cihlar

Color is in the air between us. Call it Spiritus Mundi
or the collective unconscious, it is the teal and salmon
of the upholstered headboard, the ivory of the sheers
around the four-poster bed, the Windsor blue
and Persian cream of my dressing gown’s floral print.
I’ve been neither one thing nor another. The world you see
is not the world I live in. No silver balloon floating on a string
behind the white stripes of Venetian blinds.
For me it is primary red, an ache of the in-step,
Franchot Tone sweating under the lights.
I’m nothing but a nothing. Let’s mock the barbarians in the ring.
No matter if they look like John Garfield and William Holden,
W.B. Yeats and C.G. Jung. Maybe someday I’ll see my face up there.
Forgiveness is okay. I want the story to end before it becomes a story.
Hello, Mother. I’ll wager I look great in a blonde wig.
You talk and I’ll listen. Franchot Tone folds like a bad hand.
Tell the story backward and the balloon recedes behind a door.
My memory is your memory, my dreams are your dreams.
If I am standing on a cliff, you are on the other side. Goodbye, Mother.
It was a good fight, and the better man won. Anyone got a ducat?