The Aging Magician Speaks to His Reflection

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Third Place, July 2017
Judged by Tim Mayo

Dear scepter moon and top hat, you’ve fooled me a time.
I wrote you honest and fearless, not this cumulus face

that yearns to be open, no longer able to conjure a tempest
like Ariel; I keep going off. This island is lonely, this life not

quite golden, I am a fish in a bowl ricocheting the glass.
I am a fangy moon about to bite my leash in three.

Old, older, ancient. I can’t do the trick to join the pieces
together. I want the lines in my hands to lead me to a better life.

Maybe I’ll pull another pelt from my hat, put on my best
toupee, make the women my age loosen their hips or lose

ten pounds. Maybe I’ll pass for sixty again, mesmerize
them with my silver wolf walking stick. I am not too old

for dreams. I don’t wish to see their grandchild’s graduation
pictures. Spare me ever seeing another selfie. My own girl,

Miranda, stopped speaking to me more than four decades ago.
I want to lasso the moon with silk scarves, dance under an orb

of diamonds, set my stick to howling. I want to pretend my bones
are growing tall, that I am not shrinking. I want to pretend I am

at a masquerade ball at the Plaza Hotel, an accountant with important
numbers to balance, not a fool with the usual tricks up my sleeve.

I want to meet a woman in blood-red silk that she will use to lasso
the moon over us. All my perplexed rabbits will escape into the free

world, transforming me. Not leave me with my collapsible silk
hat alone, except for those beasts I have named: Longing, Regret.

One needs to remember the kinds of standard tricks almost all magicians do, as well as your Tempest. This poem does a great balancing act between the comic and the true sadness of regret. There is wit as well some great lines in this poem. To wit:

“ . . . I want to pretend my bones
are growing tall, that I am not shrinking.”

Alas, don’t we all regret the lesser beings we turn into as we grow older. --Tim Mayo