Magician’s Assistant

The man by my side, patting my collar down, brushing cat fur from my sleeves before my appointment with the magician—he knows, my husband, the importance of these nights and yet still wonders what it is I seek at the magician’s house. He knows there’s more to it than a rabbit and a hat or a shell game and sometimes his eyes snap shut like a doll’s. Tonight his hands will linger on the abrasions—Yes, I’ll say, he’s still working on the sawing trick, almost got it down and I don’t know when this fantasy grew to such proportions—the magician, the magician’s assistant, but this man by my side, he sends me on my way and as I open the door he says, You forgot something, hands me my dog-eared paperback on illusion and escape.

“Magician’s Assistant” was originally published in Mirror Northwest. It was reprinted in the 2006 Syracuse Cultural Workers Women Artists Datebook and in the anthologies Poets at the Kent Canterbury Faire (2005) and Pontoon: an anthology of Washington State poets No. 9.

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