A journal of narrative writing.
The Magic Trick

My father-in-law forgets, again, that his wallet

is in the cruise-ship bedroom safe, flustered

as he searches pants pockets for his identity.

Finally, my mother-in-law just gives it to him,

secrets another glass of Chablis, then another,

as though drinking were a hidden fountain—

memory un-wrinkling into the young girl

she somewhere still is, though the body

silently cripples her cell by defiant cell.

The grandchildren remain blissful,

cavort across cruise ship decks

bound in their cavernous hearts

for what must seem an eternal voyage—

limitless food, incessant festivities,

the night shows—as now, all of us

expectant in the front row, the magician

pulling my wife from her seat onto the stage,

bra mysteriously pulled from blouse,

embarrassed laughter; then her brother,

dollar bill ripped in pieces, materializing again,

whole, inside an orange; their father beaming,

his family whole, here, together, magic

his childhood hobby, hands clapping

as he watches the juggler in the darkened room,

fluorescent rings rotating three to each arm and leg

while hanging suspended from the ceiling,

teeth clenched on a leather strap,

an apple-shaped orb stuck in his mouth

like some original sin, holding on

for dear life, for all of us—the apple,

the teeth, the death-defying act:

that we live at all, this original

inexplicable trick.