i want to talk about magic
though not the kind involving conjuration
of spirits or gods while the new moon looks on-

i'd rather pray to a sickle.
i'd rather wait by the ocean for
centuries, thinking
each bob of wave meant
a boat would arrive.
i'd rather try to start fires
by glass' friction
than rub the bones together
hastily, plucking
fruit from trees, the mandrakes
at midnight.

i'd rather do all this
than once light a pyre.

everyone tires of wraiths
and ravens by the tenth telling
of the tale: tell
me something i do not know
and which i cannot find
in Poe like how the smoke
smells: charred bodies
caught in the locks
of my hair: sand, phantasms,
spooks i've trapped in there;

tell me how the tree boughs
are still heavy with
Ephesians and rope, coiled
one, twice, thrice
round the dogwoods like
a bracelet round a lover's wrist or
a noose round a liar's neck.

i am lying
in the hills, their orange-
gold opening,
their pre-dusk
prayer sessions just
beginning and
i can still smell the ocean,
the ritual implied in its sound.

the hills instill in most a certain kind
of splendor:
a false spring awakens in me.
it is hydrogen, not ovarian.
i am in the crook of the window's elbow.
i am elusive. i am a lark, singing.
i am Medusa's still-squirming head.
i am a piece of wood ablaze
far from the sea so

burn me / tell me
stories, and think and ponder
for once the magic.

2002 kris t. kahn.  All rights reserved. 


  More Poetry

arguing with the troubadour

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