Let the hunchback lie hump down
upon the Bactrian camel. On that snug foundation
let the leper stand tiptoe, balancing
the cripple’s cane on his nose, while the cripple,
upside down, balances atop the cane, index finger
on the hook handle. Let the cripple’s legs scissor
and interlock with the gymnast’s, whose chalked hands
should support the flat-footed orangutan.
Let the orangutan be trained beforehand
to hold a dead veteran overhead, the body draped.
On the veteran’s shoulders and hips let the retiree
align the rubber-nubbin feet of his walker
and, standing tall, wear a hard hat with a flagpole
coming off it, atop that flagpole a circus elephant,
one leathery foot planted, the body rocking back.
On the top curve of that elephant’s S-shaped trunk
let the seal lie arching its back, on its whiskery snout
a beach ball that looks like a globe, spinning.
Let the five-star general clap his hands on that beach ball.
You know he wants to. Let him do a handstand on it.
Feet on his feet, let the poet turning clockwise
support a fruit bat on his head, and let that fruit bat
in turn support a larger fruit bat, between whose ears
should rest the toe of the ballerina’s vertical left shoe.
Let the ballerina hold the stepladder steady.
At this point, the tower will have crossed the cloud cover;
the shelf should be in view, and what is kept upon the shelf.
Now let the child skip school. Let the child
climb the tower to its tippy top and place her hand
inside the jar and bring the cookies to earth.