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Ghost Tours: Houdini
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Each year, at his deathday séance,
he did not appear: the room full
of the space where he wasn't,
as once the air had been: his body
upside 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 promised
he wouldn't return. He knew
the body's limits: how it could wrestle
out of ropes, chains, locks, metal
milk cans, the bat-hung building pose.
But death was no straitjacket, no

steamer trunk clicked shut for
the Metamorphosis. No knot tied
looser than a living muscle's pull. It didn't
applaud as you jumped—bound—
from the bridge. No one returned.

And the medium's proofs: a cross
his Jewish mother drew, his name
in English (a language she never
spoke): the cheapest stunts. Hope
for the ones who never dared turn
headfirst from the seventh floor
and see the crowd below—eyes

raised up as if for God, but more
than God. A human strung from
his ankles and unafraid. Watch
closely: this is how the living
know they live; how freedom
must come before breath. Watch
closer: this is all there is.

Alexandra Teague  

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.

Copyright © 2013 Louisiana State University Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Alexandra Teague. "Ghost Tours: Houdini." Southern Review 49.2 (2013): 302-303. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Teague, A.(2013). Ghost Tours: Houdini. Southern Review 49(2), 302-303. Louisiana State University Press. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Alexandra Teague. "Ghost Tours: Houdini." Southern Review 49, no. 2 (2013): 302-303. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed April 10, 2013).
T1 - Ghost Tours: Houdini
A1 - Alexandra Teague
JF - Southern Review
VL - 49
IS - 2
SP - 302
EP - 303
PY - 2013
PB - Louisiana State University Press
SN - 2168-5541
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_review/v049/49.2.teague.html
N1 - Volume 49, Number 2, Spring 2013
ER -


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