My marionette’s antics are coffins to the untrained eye. I did not, for the life of me, 

consider the misery of bloody flesh and puberty he’d suffer no longer bound to 

cherry wood. I build our ramshackle house out of shark teeth and rubber cement, pin 

donkey ears on every bullish kid. I guess the hard-working wrecks


don’t get to play on jungle gyms. Freeloaders get peeled pears. After his head sticks 

in a revolving door, I plan the puppet’s surgeries. Find him an organ donor. I 

challenge the laws of physics to a mock trial, leave shadows to their fictions. A 

journey to the state fair ends


with a gurney. My sledge hammer hugs the Tilt-a-Whirl. Wave your hands in the air 

if don’t care about dismemberment, like the street urchins playing roly poly, steel-

toes boot their jellyrolls. I’m afraid the cricket will carve a switch from his 

splintering shin. Hammers be damned. Carpenter ants be fruitful. A lanky childhood


calls for a coming-of-age party done up with chrome balloons, piñatas, and torrential 

mood swings. I will pour you another. Glass house. Pour you a juggling of cleavers 

and grief. If you go off on your own and become real, don’t drink too much solitude 

then get all hepatocellular. If you do, I dare you to be as timeless as a disease.


Stephen Danos earned an MFA in Creative Writing - Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in RealPoetik, 1913: A Journal of Forms, The Destroyer, Sou'westerForklift, Ohio, Court Green , and elsewhere. He's an editor for YesYes Books and co-curates The Dollhouse Reading Series in Chicago.