7 - Disappearing Acts

(Before ground zero)

Dust settled in the dark and crimson
crannies of Houdini’s den,
a freed dove’s flight from where
a record crowd
would witness the unspeakable illusion;
this quieter disappearing act
drew tears
but fewer residents and patrons
held their breath
as among the cobwebbed clutter,
abracadabra arts and ancient cunning crafts,
hocus-pocus candles, charms and spells,
Mystery’s Palace curtain
closed the century and the mountebanks out.

(After ground zero)

Emerging from the dark and crimson
storerooms of emotion,
visitors confounded
by a sleight of hand and spirit,
eyes drawn a moment to
twin emptied spaces in the skyline,
blinking out the hard light of the day,
turn back in hope of encore reappearance;
but gradually rapt hands
sound out applause united
to accept at last the conjured trompe l’oeil
that drew Harry’s spangled cape
round Flosso’s final show,
dust to magic disappearing dust.
In 2000, one of the world’s oldest magic shops established near Macy’s in New York and once owned by Houdini, quietly closed down. The last owner of the shop, Jackie Flosso, died three years later, in October 2003.

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