The sorcerer got home from his job
at the 7-11 and stood limp in the center
of his empty bedroom, reading runes
in the fine traceries of dust. The blurry
portents gave him only old news:
The collected fragments of two years’
love jeered at him from shelves, desks,
and his bedside table. An origami rose
she’d folded for him one night during
her Japan phase, wearing a silk kimono
and smoking on the bed. A silver armband
filigreed and coiled, resting without
even the ghost of a limb inside. A stuffed
dog, one-eyed and grinning (idiotically
he thought now, or rabidly) given
two Valentine’s past.
the gifts and pictures and arranged them
on the green-gold floor. He took
a forgotten dress, wine-stained and balled
in a closet corner, and spread it
on the carpet. He placed her stuffed
hedgehog at the head, a mismatched pair
of woolen socks at the feet, a scattering
of rings and bracelets beneath the sleeves.
He arrayed the remainder in a loose circle.
His fingers trembled. These sweet
mementos had become swiftly humming
engines of grief. He lit a scented candle
(her favorite, “Rainforest Dawn”) and conjured.
His hands moved, sticky with cola and reeking
of dollar bills.
He drew the spirit of past
love from the stuffed dog, the tarnished rings,
the fragile rose. The dog shriveled into
a raisin shape, the rose blackened, and rings
dissolved to silver dust as the dress swelled,
filled with ghost hips,
But the dress sagged, and flattened with a sound
of sighing breath. The sorcerer slumped, hands
unmoving, eyes down. Perhaps, he thought, if she’d
died, and I could have grabbed her ghost-- but no.
She’d only stopped loving him, and moved away,
and the phantom past had faded
too far to be saved.
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