John Maradik


is a great magician
“the cage” he screams
and the cage of birds vanishes
he picks up a glass of champagne
spits out another frog
I am proud of him
he is getting much better
light pours from his eyes
“do not be afraid” he says
he pulls a writhing snake
out of his mouth
I throw up a little
into the trash bin
next to his desk
I am a sensitive young man
on the verge of becoming
an even more sensitive adult
my therapist knows this
he stands dramatically
in the center of the room
a second therapist
steps into view
she has been hiding
behind the velvet curtain
her lips are painted red
she pulls a knife
out of her tuxedo
“no no no” my therapist says
for a moment time is frozen
then she jams the knife
into my therapist’s chest
his body thumps to the ground
a blood stain forms slowly
someone shuts off the lights
I am speechless
I can hear a bird cry outside
my hands begin to clap
and then it dawns on me
I have never loved anyone

JOHN MARADIK received his MFA from UMass-Amherst. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with his wife, the poet Rachel B. Glaser.

Issue Six
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