I stretch out my arms to catch a sprawling nothing.
Down I spin, up, around, and over
Until I land, feet flat, before a glittering mansion
Pulsing with electric vibrancy, a million revelers
Passing through its revolving doors,
Gulping tea in china cups that somehow do not shatter
As they stumble and fall.
From room to room I run: a greenhouse, a gymnasium, a garden.
A grinning cat greets from atop a fragrant rose bush,
Whether out of hunger or loneliness,
I cannot tell.
Breathless, I arrive at the library and slam the door,
The sound echoing in a ghostly chamber of unrequited peace,
Shattered by six blaring accusations
Of the old grandfather clock.
I follow a low murmur to a long dining room table
Of tea and jam and crystal
And a man engulfed by a hat as big as he.
As I sit to begin my tea, the cup is snatched from my lips.
Get up! Sit down! Move! Up! No! Down!
I am prodded and shoved into musical chairs,
The only accompaniment the tinny voice of my companion,
Slurred, syrupy molasses at once slow and frantic.
Get up! No! Sit down! Up! Go!
Around the corner, a shadow reeks of calculated sanity and charisma;
I crash into a man smiling with the fondness of an old friend.
The monocle, the gold suit, the consumptive cologne of roses
Bind my eyes to his.
With a curious smile, he extends his hand
Through a dark, tumbling descent,
Through the throng of partygoers all gone mad,
Through a warning feline grin.
His hand is clammy and ice cold.
“How do you do? I'm Jay Gatsby.”