Issue Three

Spring 2012


How to put a genie back

First hold the bottle’s green glass
up to the light, scour its innards for skin flecks,
the smallest tongue lick. Make sure

he’s really gone. Next, cajole. Say, Please.
This will obviously fail. Then stretch
your arms wide. If you’re lucky,

you’ll catch him for a while.
Grasp and squeeze tight until green
blood seeps from his eyes.

Watch as he slinks to the floor,
marvel as he whispers away to the damp
of the dark. Troubled now, set a trap;
wait for it to spring, which it will,
but the cage will be empty, just one
green thread from his cloak

on the floor. So sharpen your sword,
raise it high, brandish and flourish it,
howl. And, as he passes by smiling, lop

off a leg, arm, perhaps his head, laugh
a little as it rolls green at your feet.
Gather the pieces, try jamming them in.

You will suck at this; each bit’s not
even part of the sum. How to put a genie
back? It’s like holding onto the sun.




Claire Dyer