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The Magician’s Girl

ISSUE:  Winter 1973

    for Ariel

It’s a routine we’ve worked out
to pass the winter.
I saw myself in two, in three,
into a puzzle,
and you piece me together
all afternoon
so the cracks won’t show.

I bring you the bitten yellow
ends of myself
and presto!
sharpened pencils
fly from your sleeves.

I bring you myself in a cup
bitter as I can brew it
and you breathe in that black bouquet,
drink it down without blinking
and say, That’s
how I like it.

I keep doing it to prove
you’re as fickle as God
who has given up
playing my games.

You win every time.
I’m your show-stopper, the spangled
magician’s girl, and
your gallery of gaping kids.

What trick have you got
up your sleeve, ticking
like a heart?


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