Last Act

It felt like the finale: the magic cloak skit
bunglingly executed, given the ultimate twist,

the audience killing themselves laughing –
the master of mistiming surpasses himself.

But it lingered on a shade too long:
the gurn, the sitting-up slump, the snoring,

and something strangely rising from the cloak.
Cut to the emergency ad break

then lights out, sleep sound.
The morning after I learned

from dad that Tommy had died live
on stage, just like that. Houdini’s dead,

Horace Goldin’s dead, Dante’s dead,
all the great magicians are dead.

I don’t feel so good myself.



Thomas Day teaches English at Eton. He has published critical essays and reviews in Essays in Criticism, The Cambridge Quarterly, PN Review, the TLS and others, and has had poems published in Agenda, English in Education and The Ekphrastic Review.