restricted access The Fugitive
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Our next trick was to disappearperson X for twenty years to life plusguess their luckiest number.In the town of Off the Grid,Nevada, a diner owner who flinchedat each mention of back Eastimprovised straws and spoonsand paper napkins into an emergencysurgical kit or cover story.We required an audience volunteer,an ordinary straightjacketand a panopticon taller than God.In a tractor-trailer on the fifth daylong-hauling stuffed poultry cratescoast to coast, a drifter figurewithout ID but with a historyrested on or in chickenshit dreamsabout featherbeds and flight.Only our gesture could unlockthat hatch to get somebody in the chestof smaller and smaller chests.In a database sorted by namesuspiciousness and beardsfrom Abraham Lincoln to ZZ Top,a single facial age-progression photoimagined having hands freeand how much future they could hold.The animal we producedfrom an empty cage was part rabbit,almost dead, so we said rabid.In a room where wind and sunlight meta wall with window written on it,not the world’s worst escape artistand contortionist between positionsgot a coffin half-off while lookinga little too much like us.After the switcheroo, we often forgotwhich twin came through wholeand which went in the hole again.We doubled the number. [End Page 99]

Steven D. Schroeder

Steven D. Schroeder’s second book is The Royal Nonesuch (Spark Wheel Press, 2013). His poetry is recently available or forthcoming from Barrow Street, The Journal, and Crab Orchard Review. He edits the online poetry journal Anti-, serves as co-curator for Observable Readings, and works as a Certified Professional Résumé Writer.