Rocket Fantastic [excerpt]

It's ridiculous what fame
can buy you. Not the beast
but the tiny, frightened
man who brings him
in a cage from Alhambra,
who stands in the doorway
as the three girls finish,
get off the bed and walk down
to the pool, giggling as they pass.
The Bandleader borrowed
a tiger because we saw it
in a reel the studio sent over,
some movie about a prince
that played against the wall
of the upstairs bedroom.
Sometimes a girl would jump
into the pool and the waves
shimmered up. In the movie
the prince brings the tiger
to the castle and it rules
alongside him, "That's not
believable," the Bandleader
said and then, "Don't stop."
And then, "Ah. Right there."
The prince would place his hand
on the tiger's head and grab
his hair in his fist and move
it around. I liked to watch
him start to want things, a wetness
forming in his mind. There were
three girls squealing in the pool
and the waves came up to us
as ripples of light that I passed
my fingers through, "You're blue
with gold stripes," the Bandleader
said, looking up at me
but imagining the tiger beside him
already, before he even
reached for the phone.

Copyright © 2011 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Used with permission of the author.