by Cristina Legarda
When I was little
words I liked cast a spell.
I had to repeat.
Diary diary diary
I’d say, unable to help myself.
like a cloak snagged on briars
the spell would break when someone said,
“Not a farthing.” Not a farthing, I’d whisper.
Not a farthing. Not a farthing.
I’d try to hide my magic
from pediatricians, my mom,
the local barista.
magic magic magic
My words were beads on a rosary,
knots in wooden planks
in an artist’s garret,
incantations, a spirograph.
On my paper, a pie, the clock of eras,
isosceles triangle, stick figures,
grape vines, a map, words
like a meandering garnish,
the best part. Garnish. Garnish.