Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Dreams of Wizardry by Michael Dwayne Smith

A tremendous echo, like I’m in a great hall, but in fact
I am small in my own home. Here I find a book of spells:
with a hand from my coat pocket, I flip to a random page,
cast an enchantment of ice and snow and confusion—

furniture frosts, light bulbs pop in their lamps, television
switches on and feints waver from ghostly Disney-sequel
mouths. My fumbly fingers cannot find my phone… but
who is there to call in winter? The sickly screen flickers

its three-a.m. blues, laughing, and I light a match as the
power goes out. The dark reminds me of space. When I
was a child. When space was a frontier, not a last gasp of
extinguished hydrogen fireballs. The gods knew then.

Next, I try casting a lantern charm, but our batteries are
dead, so I hammer at ice that encases the kitchen light-
switch with a fist until everything shatters. This because
someone has to— the gods knew then, the magic, and

now they cackle. My sheepskin coat, huddled around me,
says humans’ magic divides their blood from the stars.


Michael Dwayne Smith haunts many literary houses, including Gargoyle, Third Wednesday, The Cortland Review, New World Writing, Chiron Review, Monkeybicycle, and Heavy Feather Review. Author of four books, recipient of the Hinderaker Prize for poetry, the Polonsky Prize for fiction, and a multiple-time Pushcart Prize/Best of the Net nominee, he lives near a Mojave Desert ghost town with his family and rescued horses.