Magical Thinking

The last I recall,
we were talking about your
money problems, and how
the restaurant was shut down
for health code violations
and you didn’t know what
you were going to do.
You were trying not to panic.
Rent was due in a week.
Let me know how I can help,
I said.

There was a thoughtful pause
of a few hours and then I heard
from you again. You said
you wished you had a camera
that could take pictures
of the moon, the stars.
And oh, how I wished I could
get one for you, maybe something
in the back pages of a comic book
from our childhood, somewhere
amongst the ads for x-ray specs
and sea monkeys, hand buzzers
and mood rings.

There was something
about your wish— the wistful,
absent tone in your voice
as though you were far away
by now, furiously pedaling
back through time until
you were the brother and I,
the sister, and if we pooled
our paper route money together
we might just have enough
for the magic camera
that can capture the stars spilled
across a night sky like salt
on a diner tabletop, or the
mournful look of a full moon
with its sunken eyes and
brooding mouth.

Claire Juno, © 2023