The Silent Ventriloquist


By Brandon Williams

He escapes his nerves
and his twice-shattered kneecap
with opiates. During a show,
his knee pulses, locks into place
like the emptiness
of his face as he presides
over the stage with a redwood age ring
growing in his sternum. There’s only so much
energy in the world, and it flows
between them like a mentor
passing knowledge, revealing
truths and taking discoveries,
his knee the springboard
for an hour’s life and death,
a pixie taking wing and landing,
the ventriloquist and his momentary loss
to the shadows as he blinks through
a muddy life not his own, and even with
two perspectives to view existence,
wonders what those outside the spotlight see.

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