Grandpa’s Diamond

It was my birthday
and Mom invited all the kids from school –
not knowing who my friends were.
What were we doing here
in her bedroom? Girls
in pressed dresses and cable tights
with blonde ponytails tied up
in ribbons, rolling
their light eyes and flashing me
disapproving sideways snarls
at the condition of the carpet
and Mom’s treasured Japanese
souvenirs on the nightstand.
Why had she invited these girls?
Oh my god,
she invited
the “special” girl too.
I spent the afternoon keeping her
from eating thing from inside
my mom’s jewelry box, but when her mother
picked her up I realized she’d swallowed
my Grandpa’s wedding ring,
a large onyx slab
with a tiny white diamond
in the center of it.
Nobody seemed to care
that she’d done something so wrong.
Because she was helpless, it was
forgivable. But they blamed me
for not keeping close enough watch
over the girl and over our valuables.
I got scolded for this, even though
it wasn’t my fault, even though
it was my “special” day. I never wanted
a party in the first place, never would have
invited those girls, particularly not the one
who was so dumb that she was trouble.
Now we’d have to keep her here
for hours, maybe days
feeding her juice and cake
waiting to sift through her stupid shit
to try to find Grandpa’s Diamond.

The Witch Toe `

I dreamed I found a witch’s toe, which made her hate me for being such a goody-goody that I’d return it. I’d just started swimming after sorting out some confusion about there being two McDonald’s on the same street within about a block of one another, somewhere on 84th St. but also near the university. I’m not sure why I was there – it had something to do with school, and correspondence. The pool was very deep on one end but it wasn’t lined in concrete like most public pools. Instead it had a blue vinyl liner like above-ground pools in suburban backyards.

I went to the deep end so I could do a cannonball. That’s where I found her toe, floating near the filter grate near the edge of the pool where I was about to jump. I picked it up and looked at it. All skin, no bone, but it still had the big toenail attached to it, though it was softened from being soaked so long. Cut cleanly, surgically excised. I thought it would mean more to her to have the toe back, but she scoffed at me, insulted, gesturing to the foot from where the toe had been cut. The foot had a black aura about it that only I could see. She had put a spell on it to give it the appearance of being intact.

Glitter rose from it like smoke from a hot griddle sizzling with steak fajitas. I could see it was black magic but if it weren’t for my spoiling everything, others wouldn’t notice. “See,” she scolded, “You’ve brought this back to me, now it will ruin everything! You’ve broken the spell, and the old dead toe can’t be saved, it’s useless, waterlogged, and besides, it doesn’t have any bone. I never wanted to see it again and now my the stump of my foot will be revealed, I can’t keep appearances any longer!”

She pushed me into the deep well, and I kept falling farther and farther without reaching the bottom. I let some air out of my lungs and tried to follow them up but after swimming in that direction for what had to be too long a time, I realized I could no longer tell up from down because the witch had put a curse on me. She tried to confuse me so I would never find my way to the surface. She and I both knew I’d make it somehow anyway, because I had done a good deed, thus sink or swim, I would always be able to move in the right direction. This made the witch furious. It killed her to know that for my kindness, I’d in turn been touched by God.