I Have Dropped Out Of Magic

I have dropped out of magic
—Just for a little while, I’d said
As I scraped the shimmer from my wings
And fell into my thickening


I have dropped out of magic
Like some punch-drunk Houdini
Who forgot the second act.
There is no box small enough, I’d said

And ’tis no loss
To crawl into that box
To crack the bone, or rip the sinew
To fold the body back
And drive it down.

The sense of regularity
It’s soothing. A relief!
Not quite so frightening
Or so violent—
And everyone agrees
So how could I not?
We’re all in this together.

So ’tis no loss
To squat in darkness
To think perhaps that I shall grow
Into that square space,
And fill it’s corners.
Leaking juices all the way
Until all that’s left
Is my shrivelled walnut heart.

I have dropped out of magic
And plunged into mindless rivers
Carried fast away from me – woohoo!
Oh yes, I’m really going somewhere now!

Until — from time to time I wake,
Stalled, spat up on some sanded bank,
Spewing water, spewing weeds
Gasping at how far I think I’ve come…

No need to think,
Just need to get back in
To drift and drink…

I cannot swallow the river,
The river has swallowed me.

Yet some thin and shining thread
Still joined
Still quivers…
Reminding me from where I came


I have dropped out of magic
And pricked myself
On the needle of my own wheel.
Spun a thicket round my heart.
It’s dark here and there are no maps.
Just frightening, frightened creatures scuttling in the dark.

I’m slashing, thrashing round and round myself.
Searching for a body to resuscitate
Behind the curtain sleeping
Under the bed weeping
Come out, come out wherever you are

But I have hidden too well from myself
So will I know me
When I see me?
—Or will I confuse me
With the sheen of someone else’s dream?

And can you tell me,
Will I like me
When I meet me?
When the lights are on,
Will I be able to look at me?
Chugging sluggy me
Broken boxy me
Water-logged and weedy me

I say to myself:
When the time comes
To take the photo of my life
I do hope
That I am in it…

But the time is coming into me
And the time is going out of me
With every breath

I don’t know how to find my magic
But I shall open up the double doors
Let the wind blow in
Howling round and through these bones
And rooting in the dirt,
Faint and out of tune
I shall whistle too

Poem by Deirdre Gleeson

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Deirdre Gleeson
Deirdre Gleeson
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