each sleight of hand, every spell thwarts
a step toward the sanitarium of worthlessness.
the cards are always laid in order and ready
to be shuffled again. i will not be stuffed into
a box after stuffing myself into glittery leotard
and sheer tights. i am not the silent rabbit
twitching my nose as you pull on my ears
to yank me out of a hat. i am the one who
cultivates the herbs from the ground, trades
whispers with the dead, and still shields
herself with oils, pouches, the phrases
uttered in yoruba, swahili, and spanish
dip my tongue in a diaspora, the wellspring
that you may skim but never dive in deep.
open the book of spells blow the dust away
from the pages written passed down
make them your own revamp their works
like the lipstick spread bright as your stockings
caught in your fingernails weaved through smiles
when pains and the least transform into raising
children, picket signs, bank accounts, bodies
from death and deficit. a persistence that outlasts
sisyphus rests on your shoulders, so rest.
because we are magic, rules will never apply to us.