Real magic

I stand in an out-of-the-way corner at the bookstore
Frantically flipping pages to find what happens next.
Cheating the store of its $5.35 for this paperback
Story of a Chicago where magic is real – a wizard and a cop
Solve crimes and save the world – hope to save their souls.
Guilty pleasures: these stories I inhale between literary outings
With Atwood and Alarcon, Chabon and Woolf
Like cotton candy at the fair – sweet on the tongue, soon gone.

My foray into the land of make believe casts a spell
Starts me wondering about the real magic around me
The wizardry I see other people performing.
What else to call words that change a person’s life?
Just words – ephemeral letters – utterly commonplace
But arrange them in the proper order
Speak them gently or write them clearly
And suddenly you have touched another human soul.
If that’s not magic, what is?

Many words are just chatter, of course, filling time and space
But some few words linger in the mind
Long after the person took breath and lifted tongue:
“You are one of the most strong-willed people.”
“If I didn’t know you, I’d say you stole that.”
“If you’re a writer, you should be writing.”
“What would it be like if … you took ballet?”

We all have this magic within us, I think.
Some capture it with music or with paint
Some capture it with words, a look, a smile.
I pray that I can use my magic carefully, thoughtfully
So that someday my words will linger in someone else’s mind
And sneak into their thoughts when they least expect it.