The Magician Retires

A man once told me,
You can’t grow flowers in the gutter
after kissing the mouth
that has been doing just that for years.
I have plucked beauty out of thin air more than once;
any other woman has had to do the same.
Like it’s a magic trick
or like it’s something you can learn.
So I learned it.
So I did the magic trick perfectly
and no one could tell the difference.
Not even him.
But when I went home that night,
stripping shirt from torso and tossing it onto the floor,
I knew exactly what I was:
I was strange
and a little broken
and not what they expected when they looked at me.
I knew I was a dandelion who danced the fine line
of almost.
And they almost loved me –
and I almost let them –
but in the end they knew nothing.
They were only boys,
still young enough to believe in magic,
who looked at women as if they were linked rings
instead of the gloved hands that were wielding them –
and I got so tired of performing.

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