“Magical Realism” by Shira Dentz

I always leave my not-yet empty mug of morning coffee on the counter when I leave for work. Though I think cold old coffee is unappetizing, there’s some reason I won’t just spill out the rest. Well, coffee’s pricey and I’d feel my resources shrinking if I spilled out what was undrunk. Wanting to postpone that crunch of inner dread is part one. Part two is that, for some reason, lately it’s become a ritual fantasy that later, when I return home, the cold old coffee is going to be great; that is, sublime, in some as-yet-unthinkable gustatory pairing. I suppose, then, that I’ve become accustomed to leaving such imaginary gifts for myself to open.

It’s all about potential, I guess. Is that the same as hope? Don’t know. Potential like that of a flat piece of crummy paper that can be folded into an origami frog, however messy. Something changing dimension. Frogs have often found their way into stories about magic, love, and true beauty.

Shira Dentz is the author of five books including how do i net thee, a National Poetry Series finalist, door of thin skins, a cross-genre memoir, and Sisyphusina (PANK Books 2020). Her writing appears widely in venues such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, New American Writing, Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day Series, and NPR. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Utah, and currently teaches creative writing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Upstate New York, and is special features editor at Tarpaulin Sky.

Image: Rachel E. Mailhot

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