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Talisman

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Little tin key
lost somewhere in my memory, returned to me in a dream.

Like the blue-burning match blowing over the surface of
some drunk girl’s sweet, flaming party drink. Happy
birthday. Lucky

coin rubbed away to nothing, turned back into invisibility.
Back into its first atomic energy. Both

lost forever now and all around me. I’ve
rendered it, it seems, back into its
first longing — to keep

safe the loved ones on the plane, or on the freeway, or
strapped to the gurney, opened for the surgery, wheeled
into the lobby, being

screened for the journey, or stamped with the date
at the entrance to the pool, the portal, the nightclub, or

any spot where one might pull to the curb, drop
off a soft target, kiss it, make
with it a plan to fetch it later — 

unbloodied, still breathing, in no hurry. This
talisman with no magic. I’ve made it for you

out of your own flesh, teeth, hair.

Source: Poetry (May 2017)

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Poetry magazine

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Talisman

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