The Conjurer

by Susan J. Cronin

This spectacle is not for the benefit

of the tiny jewel-like frog displaying itself on the table,
nor for the owl peeking over the rim of the magician’s basket,
the dog, so well-behaved in its devilish headdress;

nor is it for the frowning, doubtful nun,
or the bloated hag at the fringe of the crowd,
certain she’s missing something;

nor for the elegant lady in red—transfixed—
standing close enough to feel
the pickpocket’s body heat. No,

it is for the boy
—let’s call him Hieronymus Bosch—
crouched beneath the open-mouthed doge

and learning his first lesson in plausibility.

About the Author

Susan J. Cronin studied at Rutgers University, Sarah Lawrence College, and The New School, where she earned an MFA. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, most recently in Nashville Review, DMQ Review, Gingerbread House, Josephine Quarterly, Amethyst Arsenic, and Indicia, and is forthcoming in Whiskey Island and Figroot Press.


The Conjuror (oil on panel) (pre-restoration) by Bosch, Hieronymus (c.1450-1516). Musee d’Art et d’Histoire, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France/Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library.