What is this place

What is this place?  i asked her and she told me the magic word as i looked at the snake pills that waited in plastic bags for one touch of the match to unlock a ten foot boa of ash from each one and i saw the deer grazing before the glowing mountains tapestry and the jesus at the last supper purple and gold tapestry hand made in mexico hanging beside the picture of president kennedy in the gilded tin frame and the flags of the states ashtray and the go navy and the go colts and the orioles cap and the pull-string spider & devil & skeleton puppets O-babe hairy dice and gorilla hands hanging from the wall and I saw the red boxes full o’ fun made in china the devil mask the creepy hand and the e-z book of jokes the squirt flowers all sizes ‘n colors the fake fried egg the mystery surprise grab bags the x-ray specs the plastic handcuffs the balsa billy club and tin slide whistles and fart cushions and fly in an ice cube next to the x-ploding cigar next to the fake vomit and dog do next to the squeeze it yrself worm in the cigar by the foot-long he-man real cigar all in the glass case with the finger guillotine the magic levitating mummy the magnetic dogs that sniff each-others’ butts the light bulb that lights by itself and answers yr. every question the throw yr. voice surprise yr. friends device the electric yes/no truth detector & the deluxe electric yes/no truth detector and what is this place? i asked she that i loved more than my teenaged mother who cried on the phone, she of the housedress, of the pie-face, the double chin, the smile, the white hair, the old flats, the false teeth, the eczema on the hands and behind one ear, she of the kiss and goodnight and a night-light, of the tickle-my-back till i slept, of the big purse and the couple of dollars, and the hamburgers made just like i liked them and the cold cokes and my favorite toy and the big house that was always quiet and i looked down at the peanut shells the cigarette butts the candy wrappers the old coupon papers from the sunday sun crushed by high heels sandals boots and shoes and i looked up and the thin man with his sleeve pinned up and the thinnest neck had a rubber mouse running over his hand and up and down his shirt front with the grease spots on it and a plastic frog was swallowing a fly over and over on a felt card table as the tiny blue mouse ran over his wrist like it was a thing made of water and it was miraculous it was easy it was simple to learn amaze your friends he was whispering thru a throat microphone in a voice too high and too low and a crowd had gathered to watch the wind-up frog and the little blue mouse now kissing his cheek hiding in his pocket and to watch it all i stood on my toes and tried to look around the others and what’s he doing now? i asked and the woman i loved even more than my teenaged father because she was quiet and kind and we watched mitch miller on the television together and she didn’t slam one door or throw a plate of food because it tasted bad told me what the mouse was doing and that the frog was slowing down a little, and the mouse had a very very thin string tied to the button hole on the one-armed man’s shirt and it must have been difficult for him to have tied it there like that, and she told me these things and i believed every word and i wasn’t disappointed and i asked what is this place and she laughed and i laughed because we already knew 



Jesse Glass



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