Before I died in that house fire,
I was what my grandma called 
a little comedian. I found I could
twist my mouth and rub 
my round kid belly in such a way
people found it funny. 
That laughter — like Cheetohs
and Ding-Dongs to my soul.

Before the fire I had already
perfected one routine: what happened
that time my dad caught me smoking.
I pantomimed taking a whole pack of cigarettes 
and fitting it in my mouth —
the lighter torching the ends, 
me plucking out the twenty with both hands 
and blowing a giant smoke ring like a bigwig. 
But the funny part of the act, 
and I swear it’s true, my skin really turned green
and I’d get woozy, stumble around like a cartoon cat 
just hit on the head by a fry pan.

It’s strange, but when I’d lie in bed
I could see a pedestal 
like at the Olympics, way off in the future, 
and I was standing on it,
high as the seat on one of those old timey bikes 
with the giant front wheel.

And then I died.