The Sword Swallower's Valentine's image

The Sword Swallower's Valentine

You had me at that martini. I saw

you thread the olive’s red pimento throat

with your plastic swizzle stick, a deft act

at once delicate and greedy. A man

paid to taste the blade knows his match.

The pleasure. The brine. I wish we had time,

I said—you stopped me—There’s always time.

That’s when they called me to the stage. I saw

your mouth’s angle change as you made a match

of my name and Noted Gullet! Steel Throat!

Ramo Swami, the Sword-Swallowing Man.

I want to assure you it’s just an act,

but since age seven it’s the only act

I know. My mother recalls that first time

she caught my butter-knife trick: a real man

might not cry, but the real boy wept. She saw

my resolve to build a tunnel from throat

to feet. A dark that deep could go unmatched,

she warned. Your smile is the strike of a match,

the hope

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