Stephen Lackaye: "Trick"


We left Halloween, its pumpkins and gravestones

and rotting leaves, for candleglow and a velvet dress.

You wore the string of black pearls, and

all night I imagined myself reaching across the table,

plucking a pearl off the line like a hard grape,

then dropping it into your glass of champagne

just so I could watch you watch it fall.

Even after I’d brought you back to my flat, where

your presence alone caused all the bulbs to blow,

even as you sank into the curve of my breath

upon your neck, I could think of nothing but

that pearl descending within the thin parabola:

the muffled dud when it reached its terminus, soft

as the sound of my tongue knocking against

the backs of my teeth while I held quiet

the desire to watch you wait for the miracle

I knew would not occur when it hit the bottom.



Stephen Lackaye's manuscript, Claims, has been a finalist or semi-finalist for awards including the Elixir Press Open Competition, Brittingham/Pollak Prizes, and the Patricia Bibby First Book Award. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in The Normal School, Los Angeles Review, Cave Wall, Pinch, Poet Lore, Sow’s Ear, Dos Passos Review, and other literary journals. He holds an MSc from the University of Edinburgh and an MFA from Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches in The Writing Seminars.