World's Biggest Fool

by William Trowbridge

AT THE DOCTOR'S, Fool notices his weight's up
almost half a ton. No wonder his jeans cut
and his old shoes pinch so. He gets a new outfit

at a big-men's store, which helps till he puts on
another two tons. The tabloids show an interest,
but Fool finds himself thinking big,

hatching ideas that wouldn't have squeezed
into his normal-sized head, now larger
than a Big Boy statue's. "Is the pleasure of the pig

as great as the pleasure of the philosopher?"
he asks the mailman, feeling concepts
roll through his mind like happy sea-otters.

He begins to see through the pea soup
of everydayness, then through corduroy,
then oak tables. His doctor says it must be

a nervous affliction, brought on by
chronic ineptitude and water retention.
He prescribes strong diuretics and two weeks

in the Caymans. But Fool's grown too big
to fit inside a plane or atop a cruise ship
He acquires his own field of gravity,

then bounds through the ionosphere
and into space, where he takes his place
as the ninth planet in our solar system. China

draws up plans to colonize him, the CIA
to terminate him with extreme prejudice. Now
God has to admit Fool's jammed the gears

again, making life difficult for Everybody,
another word He uses to mean Himself. Meanwhile,
Fool's discovered the Missing Link, the lost chord,

the cure for cancer and old age, and devised
the half-hour work week. He's really, really
big now, too big to kill with a bolt of lightning

or the old pillar-of-salt stunt. Fool's heart
takes up a galaxy. There's room in it
for all humankind, even burdens on society

and threats to public decency. Everybody,
which, of course, includes God, now adrift
inside the humongous ticker, flushed

from auricle to ventricle, awash in the blood
of a fool. Out goes sin, out goes death.
in comes the free pass and the truly

bottomless Margarita — which
set off God's Doomsday Device for when
life gets too good for our own good.

BANG goes the whole shebang, leaving God
back at square one. "OK, Goddamn it,"
He sighs. "From the top: Let there be light . . .

blah, blah, blah." Back on Earth, Fool,
reincarnated to his old size and kick-me grin,
grabs a fig leaf and tries to look busy.

Originally published in Ship of Fool (Red Hen Press).

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