Blondin made a fortune walking back and forth
over Niagara Falls on a tightrope—blindfolded,
or inside a sack, or pushing a wheelbarrow, or perched on stilts,
or lugging a man on his back. Once, halfway across,
he sat down to cook and eat an omelette.
Houdini, dumped into Lake Michigan chained
and locked in a weighted trunk, swam back to the boat
a few moments later. He could swallow more than a hundred needles
and some thread, then pull from between his lips
the needles dangling at even intervals.
I can close my eyes and see your house
explode in a brilliant flash, silently,
with a complete absence of vibration. And when I open them again,
my heart in my mouth, everything is standing
just as before, but not as if nothing had happened.
August 10, 2006