A mannequin gives birth to a jack-in-the-box, says to the harlequin, “he has your thighs.”
The harlequin lathers his mandible, asks hemophilia how a shadow bleeds.
Her son born with polka dots ajar, the mannequin sells teeth online, posts ivories to inboxes.
Platelets tailgate the harlequin’s stubble, venerate a towel that proclaims him Ashtray Salesman of the Year.
His wares clang like church bells in suitcases, some the shape of heartthrobs: idol menthol, Marlboro scrim.
He crowns a tourniquet, dams his chin.
The mannequin sends her son for repairs: ten hours to a neck, sinew inclined. The boy crouches, weasel smock and facile smirk.
You’d never know he started as twine.
She retires, ministers to the mouthless. The harlequin expires. Parliaments twinge.
The kid asks about Pop.
She pauses, breath like formaldehyde on the morning drive. “Son,” she says,
“Your father was filtered, drummed the cigarillo realms.
Yes, once upon a Nicorette, humanity swirled. Companionship loomed. Lineage bruised.
The things he accomplished with ash.”
-- Jon Riccio studied viola performance at Oberlin College and the Cleveland Institute of Music. An MFA candidate at the University of Arizona, current and forthcoming poems appear in Four Chambers, Paper Nautilus, Waxwing, Switchback and Triggerfish Critical Review. He coordinates the Tucson-based WIP Reading Series.