O — Steve Mueske

Armed only with the sigmoidoscope
Ouroboros, the doctor commands him
to get on his knees. The worm burrows

and blows, and the man bears down thinking
It'll be over soon. And there she is, a child
with her compass, obsessed with circles,

permanence. She draws the shape of infinity
over and over. A rictus of surprise, baby,
a bit of jumping-back-from-the-ghoul.

Here comes the toddler with the butter knife
approaching the naked wall socket. No!
we’d say if we could, but he’s alone in his room,

and there’s the business of putting one thing
into another. In another room, a woman
holds a head between her legs. It can’t be

any other way, she thinks, with his tongue
just there. She models helpless shapes
with her mouth, makes that sonorous sound

he so loves to hear. And when it comes —
oh, yes — that crackling, sparking itch
that makes the synapses fire, the body jerk,

all math, geometry and language collapse.
Later, out life’s secret gate, comes the doll’s head,
soon sputtering with life, as though enraged.

One eye opens, then the other. Then the world
itself opens, the child’s mouth curled into a shape
best known for its place on the back half

of the alphabet. The man buckles his pants,
gets up to leave. Outside, the day is filled
with omens, clouds clustered like globes.

typo magazine — issue three