ISSUE 3 · FALL 2009
Man without a Wishbone
Blessed with jawbone, elbow and knee,
a tongue for tasting, fingers to touch.
The lantern of his heart swings from its ribcage.
The miracle of his lungs.
But no wishbone bridges the yes and no of him.
When the genie rises from the lamp
he never knows what to ask for.
When the meteors storm an August night,
everyone matching hope to flicker,
he stands dumbstruck.
One day he froze at a fountain,
unable to toss his bright coin.
The marble mermaid took him in, gave
him watch over the cherubs. All spring
the children climbed the ladder
of his spine, pigeons made nests
in his arms, flowers grew from the curled
rim of his hat. These days I wonder
about the strange gift of wantlessness.
However we come by it: birth
or a long life of being nibbled away
by paper moths and summer rain.
Prartho Sereno is author/illustrator of the poetry collection, Causing a Stir: The Secret Lives and Loves of Kitchen Utensils, winner of a 2008 bronze IPPY. Her other publications include Call from Paris (Word Works Washington Prize) and a book of essays, Everyday Miracles. Her poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Comstock Review, Rattle, and Chautaugua Review and have been anthologized in various collections. She teaches as a California Poet in the Schools.