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The Patricia and Emmett Robinson Prize, Spring 2017
Talley Kayser
Puppetry
I will go, now, into the village square

Armed with brightly painted lengths of wood
Dyed fabrics mindfully cut, hand-carved
Faces on wood hewed carefully round

And in the heat of the day I will assemble this
Acceptable platform of comedy

For the children, for the odd hesitant step

Of a grown-up caught by echoes of childhood

Under the gold-roped canopy I will sweat

Extending both hands high as surrender, high

As prayer—and my voice will become many voices
And from my hands small versions of voices we know

Will be rendered ridiculous. See, now the crowd is gathering
To laugh together—to laugh at the suited men swinging
Pendulous bellies—to laugh at their windmilled arms, to laugh
At how I smack their heads together, and again, and harder

Until it all splinters. Then the applause.

©2017 Talley Kayser