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Out of sore feet, out of roadsides sooted with dusk,
out of gravel, jeweled crumbs of shattered glass, out
of the wide gesture of the hand toward heaven, out of
the black trace of fire smoke over a chimney, wind shifting
its hips like a dancer, out of a thorn in a bird’s throat,
the body of a lark split open and baked, a coil
of blood coloring its bed of lettuce, out of the boundaries
of breath, come words. And out of words, spells:
spells for a burned tongue, for healing the soft meat
of the foot after a splinter knifes into it.
Spell for a night’s sleep and safe waking. Spell for
the singed wax odor of a candle pinched dark,
a tiny core of flame jeweling the curling wick.
There is the spell for reading, for making
an unruly child rest, for making medicine
take hold, for fickle love and binding discomfort
for a heartless swain. A spell for wind
tugging the fine top grains of soil,
a little wave migrating through the fence where
nails work their way out of sour wood. The spell
to summon a certain god or to call all the gods from
their wine presses. And out of those spells,
praise cries, screams, whistles carved bare as quarries
dredged empty of lime, abandoned hollowed bones.
And out of those spells, the rare voice that turns to singing
in service to the things we stared at until
we knew them and what they should be named.
Copyright 2018 Al Maginnes