You received an invitation.
On the invitation, a blueprint of a building.
On the envelope an insignia of a clock-faced sun,
an arrow through its core.
The building is on the outer rim of the city,
the street with the sinkhole from the last storm.
Above its entrance, a bas relief of a god
assembling the world, or taking it apart in pieces.
In the vestibule, a crate of old fruit,
strawberries now white with fur.
In the lobby, a blue doorman’s hat, upside down,
a beetle scurrying along its insides.
On the sixth floor, the top floor,
a block of sun cubes itself through the hallway.
The carpet pattern starts as two thick lines
that turn to lightning bolts further down.
A door opens down the hall,
a sunglassed, bearded man sets out a bag of groceries,
goes inside, then comes out again to take it
back inside, an orange dropping in transit.
Near the window, the dead end of the hallway,
a one-armed bartender prepares your cocktail.
On his eye patch, mother of pearl circled
by stitching of a solar system.
Speechless, he makes your drink:
water in a mason jar, then six spoonfuls of sugar,
then, from an eye dropper, six tear drops of arsenic,
then more sugar, a thin slice of horizontal lemon.
A chair sits at the hallway window and you take it.
Behind you, the bartender walks away,
picks up the dropped orange, heads down the stairs.
It is silent.
You clutch the arm rests, a skull carved into each elbow.
Through the window, you see the sinkhole,
looking like the imprint of a missing boulder,
like the busted mouth of the Earth.
Reaching for your drink, your arm
is a phantom limb.
Looking in the glass,
an iris cups the surface of the liquid.
And you can see out the window:
a compass of bodies, from all directions,
walk toward the hole, wordless,
climb in and vanish.
Never even breaking pace,
never hearing you shout
stop at the top of your lungs
through a mouthless face--
--as they disappear, disappear,
Robert Krut is the author of two books: This is the Ocean (Bona Fide Books, 2013), which received the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Award, and The Spider Sermons (BlazeVox, 2009). His work has appeared in journals like Gulf Coast, Passages North, Blackbird, and Vinyl Poetry, among others. More information can be found at www.robert-krut.com.