MY SON THE HOUDINI

BY JOHN C. MORRISON

After breakfast I chain
his wrists, ankles, lift
and lay him in a casket, kiss
his forehead, padlock and plunge
the heavy box into the icy river.

A minute later, I panic
peel away shoes to dive in
and he rises soaked, shivering
and beaming on the rocky shore
of the far bank. Then he’s over

the rise to school where bored
in class he folds in half,
again in half, folds, folds,
with smart creases, folds
until he lies on the desktop
like a well-worn wallet

his teacher, Mr. Jaybird,
opens to find three dollars
for lunch, a matinee
movie stub, and a photo:

my boy grins, gives the camera
a wave, behind him
hand on his shoulder
all smiles, me, his old man.