Said the trickster, here’s the game, if you’re able,
remember all the things upon the table.
I’ll take one and hide it away, he explained,
and if you can tell me what I’ve obtained,
then you’re the winner! And I’ll return it,
and I’ll also give you this nifty outfit.
He held a dress, midnight black and glitter,
belonged to a witch, he said–never fit her.
I admired it, imagined how it would look,
And if I lose, I said, you keep what you took?
That’s it, he replied, are we in accord?
Very well, I agreed, consider me on board.
It was my desk, after all, I knew it well:
Skull, wand, phial and ball. Cards, scroll, mirror and bell.
Turn your eyes, then, said he, and I’ll make my choice,
and I faced away, only hearing his voice.
A handful of moments, he bade me return,
Well, he said, eyes flashing, what do you discern?
Skull, wand, ball and phial. Cards, scroll, bell and mirror.
Seemed untouched–moved neither further nor nearer.
He was a trickster, though, and so I thought hard.
What was gone? A drop from the phial, a lone card?
A word from the scroll? The swirl inside the ball?
The blank smile of the skull? The bell’s ringing call?
It was none of these, and I heard his laughter.
He had me, I’d lost, and what would come after?
I looked in the mirror and saw my own face,
bright, sharp and clear and… it fell into place.
My mouth curved then, and his attitude shifted,
cursing as he understood he’d been grifted.
I reached out my hand, nails sharp, pale skin blistered,
Give me what you took from the glass, I whispered.
He tried to argue, deny, make demands and lie,
I gestured; he produced the walnut with a sigh.
Cracked it and nestled within that dark, dry space,
my fingerprints, took from the mirror’s surface.
Did you expect to bind me, foolish trickster?
I’m older than old, and my blood’s a mixture,
my magic is human and infernal, too.
Now begone, before I use your bones for glue.
And he ran, but of course I did keep the gown.
Monster I may be, there’s no need to dress down.
One last poem from the Victory in Verse contest at the Codex Writers’ Forum (check out D. L. Davitt). I enjoyed playing around with rhyming couplets, and I think we could all use a bit of fun right now. Speaking of which, if anyone would like to see any particular type of story over the coming weeks, hit me up. I’ll do my best.
If you like my work, you can support my writing by buying me a coffee at ko-fi.com.
© Kat Day 2020