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POETRY / The Four Things I Bring With Me When I Cast Spells / Jane Fleming

There are four things I bring with me when I cast spells.              Cast spells. 
The first is a ceramic elephant, 
Cream, gleaming with the trunk 
cut in half where it used to loop around hemp string.

It is half the length of my pinky finger and makes a high
pitched squeak when I place it between my teeth.
I hold it in my mouth,
rolling it around like it is candy, 
letting it play in pools of mucus, thick, slick—
Finally found the perfect salty watering hole, Dumbo                     Dumbo.  

The second is a sunflower that I pressed in wax paper,
rough and plastic between my father’s bible and the dictionary.
Its petals are shriveled like wrinkled noses around its black heart,
The width of my palm
Butter like the size eight                                                                  Size Eight
Sundress with the lace trim my mother gave me last summer.  

The third is dirt I kicked off my rain boots one day
and thought the clay would feel nice caked against my dry shins. 
It’s gray and flaked into little squares like rich tile
that my husband told me to sweep off the vinyl floors—
So, I just carry my boots and kick pocked black soles 
when I need clay like I need graveyard dirt                                       Graveyard Dirt.  

The fourth is my brain, saran wrapped, 
pink and wet in small, wormy pieces. 
It’s glistening in the sun from the flower 
and tells me that I am speaking the words just fine                           Just Fine.  

Someone told me I shouldn’t let it out like that,
but they also said that about my heart and my liver—
 and they all came out so red and shiny and clean                             And Clean
juicy and filled with secrets
that the fleshy bubbles could speak if they had my lips.  

So, I know                                                                                            I know                        
That someone probably wasn’t casting the spells right anyway.  


Jane Fleming is a Ph.D. Student in English at the University of Texas at Austin. Her poetry and prose has been previously featured in KNACK Magazine, Moonchild Magazine, and Silver Needle Press. She also has work forthcoming in Wanderlust Journal and Entropy.