the same way the curvaceous tan can-can leg narrowing to a stiletto-ish tip in Magritte’s painting is not a pipe, especially when you look at it sideways, but mostly because, despite its trick of highlights, it lacks a dimension that can be grasped. And what could ever be real without, at the very least, the potential for embrace? Truth be told, even twelve years in, I bet you’d readily recall our first; meanwhile, my brain would have to ramble through its usual associative maze. For example: Buy that specific kind of Vlasic not only for the pickle but also the brine. See also: Ancient cheerleading routines. Punishing kick lines. Recollections of cramps appearing out of nowhere that must — drop everything — be attended to. It’s summer again, and it’s Vegas; still, I see you sweeping desiccated leaves off our pots, the driveway, the street. What man does this but him? I think. And is that some type of love? Magritte had something to say about the treachery of images, but then he painted that brown deal and told us only what it wasn’t. Like that time on The Strip when David Copperfield summoned you up to him on the darkened stage, and between a car floating — whoosh! dropping! — and that steaming mechanical avalanche, he spewed some mumbo jumbo that made you disappear. But I knew you still had to exist somewhere within that palette of metallic haze and black. Even now, watching you through our window, I know the meaning of heat that warps the asphalt to mirage, certain the sweat’s collecting on the freckled slope of your nose, the last stop on your body before warning turns emergency; when you come back inside, your legs will need chartreuse juice, and I will have a glass filled for you. Later, after the pain evaporates, I’ll plop on the couch next to you, drape my thighs across yours, careful not to snag fabric with my heels. I’ll wiggle my black patent feet, say, Do you remember when we first started dating? A corner of your lips will curve into not-a-pipe before the other side follows, and this is an answer of at least a thousand sounds, but in a language my brain’s too gherkin to contain. I suppose there’s plenty to say about the treachery of words. For example: Here, where I tried to make them tell it straight — this story about you. See also: You — still, at best, a silhouette, waiting for some secret cue. A magician. Dissipating smoke.

for JKK

Raegen Pietrucha writes, edits, and consults creatively and professionally. Head of a Gorgon is her debut full-length poetry collection. Her debut poetry chapbook, An Animal I Can’t Name, won the 2015 Two of Cups Press competition, and she has a memoir in progress. She received her MFA from Bowling Green State University, where she was an assistant editor for Mid-American Review. Her work has been published in Cimarron Review, Puerto del Sol, and other journals. Connect with her at and on Twitter @freeradicalrp.