by James Grinwis

The baby was upstairs,
asleep in his tiny shadow.
The girl was in the courtyard,
watching her shadow
crack open a bicycle.
An old man was playing
solo checkers inside my shadow,
and the earth on its great hook
dreamed of a hoofless universe.
A lead pencil trapped in her glove compartment
squeaked the dirge of its master,
me, a piece of gristle
curled over a stem. There, a shadow
devouring a shadow, a little kid
steering himself towards the end of the day,
the shoulder of a dog.
taking a piece of the sun and throwing it
into mosaics of a luminous penmanship.
A ghost ship of a shadow,
a sumo ring in the shadow,
a phosphorescent wrestler
eating ghost maki inside the shadow
where she peels herself from the stairmaster
and wipes her face with a cloth
because it has gotten sweaty and kind of moist
and I imagine that the cloth is my shadow,
and my shadow the cloth.
The way when one's face is hit
the world becomes a large, mangled blur,
and how it works that the first hit
will decide how things are pursued
after, whether you get back up and keep going
or take your stick away
and lay it to rest. There is a strange species of fish that,
when weakened, leaps onto a boat or a ledge
and, while contemplating its new predicament
will smile and become shadow.
There is a shadow that, when wounded, will retreat.

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