Shadow Puppet

by gm

Carmine Starnino


Thumb and fingers
add up to a dog
and pony show.

Whatever I throw
at the bedroom wall,
whatever comes

to hand, printed
with the ink of the hour
above the neck

of the wrist. The point
is to make a face
from a fist,

a four-limbed beast,
or a night-light
archaeopteryx take flight.

The point is to make
from the laying on

of nothing, then wait
for the shriek
of my little girl’s laughter

at the shapes I cast
at the other me,
the mirror side man

signaling back,
his cropped outline
bereaved of his body.

I square
my palm against
the space around it,

place the darkest
version of myself