Each year, at his deathday séance,he did not appear: the room fullof the space where he wasn't,as once the air had been: his bodyupside down in the Upside Down,its glass bright with water—no bubbles, no struggle, just twisting
his wrists free his arms his ankles,a trick like all tricks. He'd promisedhe wouldn't return. He knewthe body's limits: how it could wrestleout of ropes, chains, locks, metalmilk cans, the bat-hung building pose.But death was no straitjacket, no
steamer trunk clicked shut forthe Metamorphosis. No knot tiedlooser than a living muscle's pull. It didn'tapplaud as you jumped—bound—from the bridge. No one returned.
And the medium's proofs: a crosshis Jewish mother drew, his namein English (a language she neverspoke): the cheapest stunts. Hopefor the ones who never dared turnheadfirst from the seventh floorand see the crowd below—eyes [End Page 302]
raised up as if for God, but morethan God. A human strung fromhis ankles and unafraid. Watchclosely: this is how the livingknow they live; how freedommust come before breath. Watchcloser: this is all there is. [End Page 303]
Alexandra Teague is the author of Mortal Geography, winner of the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize and 2010 California Book Award. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, and ZYZZYVA. She is an assistant professor of poetry at University of Idaho and an editor for Broadsided Press.