THIRD PLACE: Magician Man That Works at Kroger in J-Town
By Mackenzie Nall
The magician at Kroger was different.
He lived in the apartments across the street
with the cheap stained glass windows and a door
rotting off the screws.
He knew how to bag up groceries,
meats on the bottom
and breads on the top.
He knew how to be kind and friendly
and greet each customer with one
of those million-dollar smiles.
And he knew how to do magic.
I watched him pull quarters from behind his ear
and make scarves appear
out of nowhere, then thrust them back
into his hand and make them
He caught me watching him,
peeking my five-year-old eyes
from behind my mother’s back
(she didn’t even notice I was there).
I inhaled her perfume and squeezed
her warm, wide hips that swayed
with every move she made.
He gestured for me to go to him
so I carefully stepped around Mom
and tiptoed up to him.
His chin was covered in a dark, curly mass and
his teeth were yellow.
His fingernails ended in a point with
little crumbles of dirt shoved deep in them.
But there was something enchanting
about him that
l was curious
to figure out.
my hands on an invisible table,
facing up towards his dark brown eyes.
He went over them in a mystical manner
as if his hands were fish swimming in a bowl.
"”I know who you are
going to be
but I can’t tell you.”
I left with my mom
without saying a word.
I think I had a dream that night
about him. I went back
the next day to tell him.
I walked around for hours,
but he wasn’t there.