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Magic
by
Kristen Elde


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An impromptu evening walk midweek
with my two-year-old son in his stroller

brought us to the neighborhood QFC,
where we wait for ham at the deli counter.
I’m thirty minutes off a glass of red wine,
soft behind the eyes as I scroll through social media,
my son glued to a half-eaten Jonagold.

...Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea
and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.
Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea...

The lyrics reach me as though filtered
through an echo chamber, distant and imprecise,
and I am no longer in a grocery store at a deli counter
or in a Facebook highlight reel. Nor am I squarely
in a memory of singing softly to my son
or of being rocked to sleep in a fraying Bentwood
or of fighting sleep snug between my then-together parents
at a Peter, Paul and Mary concert highly anticipated.
(And yet...)

There are no customers. It is very still.

...and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.

By the end of the refrain I’m back at the grocery store
with a butcher inexplicably singing “Puff, the Magic Dragon”
as he thin-slices my meat. My son, apple forgotten,
turns to me in his stroller, his eyes wide and striking.
He whispers only, “Puff” (himself a fan for months).
“I know?Puff,”I whisper back. We just look at each other.
We start singing; there are three of us now.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail.
Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff’s gigantic tail...

“Wow, we both love that song. What a treat
to hear it sung at the grocery store, of all places.”
The butcher chuckles. “You don’t hear that one much anymore.”
He hands me my ham, neatly wrapped.
I thank him and push my son toward the checkstand,
as though nothing in particular just happened.

by Kristen Elde.
Used with the author’s permission.



Purchase a framed print of this poem.

 

Kristen Elde found her way to poetry about eight years ago, lured by a dream she had while traveling in Iceland, her "magic place" that has since yielded many poems. Kristen’s work has been published in several print and online publications and she maintains a poetry blog at http://difficult-loves.blogspot.com. Before poetry took hold, Kristen wrote articles for magazines including BUST, Health, and Runner's World. She lives with her husband and toddler son in western Massachusetts.

 

 

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
joecot:
"as though nothing in particular just happened" what a great ending for magic in a grocery store
Posted 03/24/2017 09:26 PM
barbsteff:
Delightful poem, magical even.
Posted 03/24/2017 04:54 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
Good job, Kristin on writing a narrative poem that was accessible and nostalgic. Those are my favorites.
Posted 03/24/2017 12:14 PM
LIndaKT:
Your poem brought back many happy memories. Thanks for this, Kristen!
Posted 03/24/2017 10:43 AM
Glen Sorestad:
I loved it, Kristen. Such "magic" moments are baffling, but so delicious and this one is so well captured.
Posted 03/24/2017 10:33 AM
loisflmom:
Lovely!
Posted 03/24/2017 10:17 AM
DavidTookey:
Love the combination of song and poem. Wonderful!!!
Posted 03/24/2017 09:49 AM
cork:
Melody.
Posted 03/24/2017 08:00 AM
Larry Schug:
This poem transported me away from the computer and took me to a different place in a different body. It left a song with me that I won't mind carrying around today.
Posted 03/24/2017 07:49 AM
mimi:
a sweet memory and poem.
Posted 03/24/2017 07:05 AM
Katrina:
The very best sealing wax to you all!
Posted 03/24/2017 06:18 AM
Judithku:
This made my morning - thank you so much.
Posted 03/24/2017 05:42 AM
Jean :D:
What a lovely story/poem/experience. Glad Kristen (& Jayne) shared this with us.
Posted 03/24/2017 03:52 AM


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