When I was 20, I read a book

When I was 20, I read a book about chakras
and imagined them as different car headlights
hung inside my body
their electrical connections dangling,
like jellyfish, out my back, where no one
could see.

I had my arms around him, my headlights
wired up to his, everything bright.
I was sweating apprehension as I whispered,
“What do you think of our future together?”

I never believed in magic words:
Abracadabra didn’t make the rabbit appear,
om manepadme OM never created light,
if Arabic and Hebrew were holy languages,
how were such terrible things done in them?

But those words were alchemy, running
backwards as I suspect alchemy always does
the error of trying to change spirit with matter:
transforming burning light
into an evening’s mauve sadness
in a tight, brightly decorated room
for one.

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