In a Vial, Humor

The vial on the table
said, “Drink me!”
No, really—
the bottle talked.
“What will happen if I do?”
I asked, which I supposed
was a reasonable enough question to ask a person,
let alone a piece of glass.
“Why, you’ll become small, of course!
I thought you were a reader.
Does the name ‘Alice’ ring any bells?
Then again, you didn’t finish your PhD, did you?”
it cackled, crackingly;
I could have sworn I saw its eyes glaze over.
“Just my luck—vitreous china in a humor,” I said.
“Oh, very good, very good!” replied the vial.
“It’s rare to see wit
when one’s bottled.” It paused.
“So, are you going to try me or not?”
“I’m not sure I’d like to be any smaller than I am now,”
said I, “and
humans are already so very small,
mere cells in the body of a great universe. Women,”
I continued,
“are the very smallest of all. I can’t think what would become of me
if I were even less than I am now.”
“Hmm,” murmured the glass. “You make a good point.”
“Say, Vial…if this is the Alice story,
there should be something to make me bigger.”
“Ah, yes,” sighed the vial. “But another poet arrived before you.
She took the cake.”
I said (clearly), “It was a piece of cake, then?”
“Yes, it was easy enough,” replied the glass, opaquely, covering a grin.
“Really?” said I, ignoring the sly humor. “Why can’t I see her, then?
“Because, my dear, the larger she becomes, the less one sees of her.
In fact” (and here the vial cleared its throat)
“if one grows large enough, one becomes invisible. It’s worse than being small.”
Nevertheless, I thought, I should have liked some cake.

April 20th, Salt Lake City

[Author’s note: This poem, as well as “Why I’m Afraid of Spiders” and “Queen of Energy II,” are responses to Jezebel Press’s “Poetry Prompts, Promptly” challenge to NaPoWriMo poets, and will be published by Jezebel Press. Visit the site(s) on Facebook.]

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