The Projectionist
Adam Vines and Allen Jih

I saw the water turn into blue glass.

The years were blocks of stacked ice
ready to be shaved.
My father would ask, “cherry or raspberry?”

and now I have to put on his socks, change his diaper.
By the end of spring, the lake house
will be ready for rent,

the erosion from the pontoon boats’ wakes will cease,
and dawn will be the only time I can sleep.

The planks on the pier buckle and mildew. The fishing reels
no longer crank. The barges circumnavigate
floating life jackets, a child's plastic ball.

Yesterday, a man was begging for cheese,
singing the old Russian national anthem.

I wonder how long a person can dream of nothing.

My arms stiffen—the sky now woven into dark jacquard—
and I recline like a nude on a chaise longue,
posing for an artist who rarely paints the living.

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