H.R. Webster


Close-Up Magic

After Jose Ahonen’s Youtube video
“Taikuutta koirille – Magic for dogs”

The magician’s hand
is a mouth swallowing
into his wrist. A flaw in the palm’s
horizon. Disappearances rust
industriously inside us.
Busy flecks of pain.
Dogs shown close-up magic
kiss the palm’s empty salt lick.
Again and again. The way girls
on reality TV whisper thank you
into the ear of the man tasked
with their dismissal. The crinkle
of their bare spines in backless
dresses, the thin lines earrings
have stretched into their lobes.


You know what it is to be composed
of absence. To spell out
your existence only with the lamp
which won’t turn off despite
the flicking of the switch,
the rocking chair, the oily
handprint on the glass. To name
yourself only with the carton
of double yolked eggs, the typo
in the text, the echo of the motion
sensor light between snow and snow
heavy sky, underneath the heavy
pelt of pines.


H.R. WEBSTER is a 2017-2018 poetry fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, Seattle Review, Ecotone, and other journals. Find more at www.hrwebster.com.