Robber Sentenced to Reflection

We bank sneaks do it for the back-
jumping buzz and for the poetry
of course, iamb after iamb of ka-
klink in our birdcage coffers.
The beard-jammer (that shitty
shirtrabbit) dropped from the eaves
after a whole lot of listening and squashed
my swagger in seconds. So here I am
on yonder Ponder Island, forced to
forgo the fizz powder that used to give me
the good go-ahead, count my every blink
and contemplate. It’s always claws
for breakfast, then around eye-flicker
five thousand he comes in to cat-cuff
me, to drone on about the bone orchard
or the Burlap Sisters (buzz-nappers all three)
who never went free. They didn’t do
dialogue. They were islands of their own.
Each midnight (thrice daily) I scan
the skies for wormholes, which I know
is flimsy whimsy, as if I’ll swoon through
space into a dimension where
there are cackle-tubs full of jokes
and tenth chances. Still, I keep
the old big-eye open. When I can
I prowl the caper-cove hooting help!
My sentence: twelve years of mirror
manufacture. Not even one lousy weak-
ankled gerund. There’s no magic in mirrors
but in verbs, hey-brim- ho yes. I narrate
my movements to myself with as many
as possible—I grind, polish, whistle,
wish, but I worry I’m losing the lingo.
I never look at my show-me in the glass—
it fazzles me. Instead I count what I’ve sent
down the wormholes in the past:
one year of daily weather diagrams
and owl-falls, an exquisite equation for
unlocking a safe. I think there are
other worlds out there and perhaps
in a quicksquint I’ll catch a glimpse of
my double (Little-Go- Cheat or Lizzy-Loll-
Tongue I call her). Worst: We’re handcuff-
Married. Best: Thanks to me her nimbles
unlatch a door and cull-money silvers
into her lap. She imagines my sky.
Sends me hers.

Copyright © 2018 by Matthea Harvey. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 7, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.