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Three Wishes
by Kate Kingston

I gave my magic to my daughter, covered her
with blue ink at birth, gave her spoons and vowels,
gave her tonsils and voice. I gave my magic
to my daughter, filled her basinet with pens, boots,
notebooks, gave my magic to my daughter,
filled her veins with ink, her mouth with alphabet.

My pen tastes like bitter porcelain, like manganese,
nickel, like scorched metal, smells like hot
tar, burnt cedar, smells like smoke rings. I gave
my pen to my daughter so she can draw a straight
line to my mother, so she can sketch a woman's
laughter on the last page next to my father's cigar.

My boots smell like deep grass, crushed snow,
smell like swamp moss, lake minnows. I gave my boots
to my daughter, the taste of leather on her tongue
and in her nostrils the smell of my father's cigar,
to my daughter so she can crush leaves underfoot,
so she can hike into winter, snowboard on her back.
My notebook tastes like pitted cherries, Vermouth,
tastes like papyrus, a hint of lime. My notebook smells
like vanilla and sweat, like butterflies, traffic fumes, wisteria
and charcoal. I gave my notebook to my daughter so she
can inhale exhaust, speak Portuguese, so she can hear wings,
to my daughter so she can smell smoke and scribble love notes.

I gave my magic to my daughter – my pen, boots,
notebook. My daughter lost my pen in the river,
in murky water, cattails, bullfrogs. She lost my boots in traffic,
in car exhaust. She lost my boots to hot asphalt and burnt
tar. She lost my notebook to the Tower of Babel, lost
my notebook to seven languages and an apostrophe.


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