Photograph by Scott Barron Photography
The Hole Trick
There seems to be a surplus
of those which look like lupus
Incantation evoked by William (Billy) Bravado during the Rampaging Rabbit Trick. Palladium, 1895
With a tap of the wand, the top hat flattened
to a black hole. The rabbits would happen.
Gasps; applause from the audience
when Bravado rummaged under the table
to show there was no depression
from which they could emerge.
The rabbits stepped out, daintily at first,
like ladies, but soon the house would prickle
at their soft multiplication.
A steady fount – they were jostling, pairing off,
like parts of a malfunctioning device,
spreading across the stage like industry. While Kirk postured panic,
bringing out a broom from the wings as if to sweep them up,
Bravado stalked around, appraising the anarchy,
his hands behind his back, head cocked, grin: unhinged. He was stooped,
his prominent chin, the curiously upturned point
of his shoe converging, giving him the appearance
of a traversing C; Rumpelstiltskin. By this time, folks were subdued:
the stress of excess, the muchness, the fur – reiterated
into something broaching profanity. But the Brothers reined
it in: a twist to the trick pulled it back from the brink
and gave it an edge of dissoluteness: it was one
for the ages. The hole
from which the rabbits were birthed
could be relocated,
rucked at the edges like velvet then carried like a tray
to a spot on the stage, where it was smoothed down
like a rug by Kirk. The rabbits halted
in their gambolling
hopped towards it
into the nothing.
Then: a nudge with his foot
to widen the gap to a sufficient
breadth and length
and with a showy valediction
Bravado jumped in.
Followed by Kirk.
The crowd went berserk.
Louise Peterkin is a poet from Edinburgh. In 2016 she was a recipient of a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in the poetry category. She is the co-editor, along with Rob A. Mackenzie, of Spark: Poetry and Art inspired by the Novels of Muriel Spark (Blue Diode Press, 2018). She is an assistant poetry editor for The Interpreter's House. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including The Dark Horse, One Hand Clapping, The Glasgow Review of Books, Magma and The North, and her first collection of poetry, The Night Jar, is out now, published by Salt.