for Charles Kesler

He steps to the podium—
special appearance for those
who’ve stayed late—
dips into his breast pocket
and produces a poem,
fluttering white dove,
hocus pocus
amid his rising words.

Poem read, he laughs,
says since we must be weary,
he’s brought his own applause.
Abracadabra, it resounds,
echoes from his fingers
in a bit of legerdemain.

He pulls, from an inside pocket,
a second poem, cupping us
all the while in his palm.
From side pocket he extracts
the third, and we
will not be at all surprised
if he draws colored silks
from closed fists,
tulip bouquets from sleeves,
a rabbit from his cap.
Instead, he holds us spellbound,
with his words.