Magnetic Poetry Sestina

Magnetic Poetry Sestina
Sarah Bramblett

When I got my first apartment, my mom gave me some words,
a set of magnetic poetry, to stick beside the grocery list
on my fridge. I’d spend several quiet hours scatter[ing]
the nouns and verbs. Less writing, more rearranging.
Three-hundred magnets cast a sort of spell,
transporting me from the dilapidated kitchen; it was magic.

“love,” “language,” “symphony,” “magic,”
just a few of the possible poem words.
I’d move an “a” in front of “lone,” and so I’d spell
my story. With the limited vocabulary, I’d list
my dreams: “money,” “commencement,” “music.” Rearranging
on the whim of the day (early twenties are when ambitions scatter).

My apartment often became a respite for scatter[ed]
college friends who always brought magic
of laughter, worth turning on the lights, worth rearranging
my weekend Netflixing schedule. Their simple words
coaxed me out. They’d made a list:
festivals, concerts, freebies, and I followed, as if under a different spell.

Til the curse of Sunday evening and the broken spell
meant that friends resumed their scatter[ing].
But I was left with a note he’d added to my list:
The magnet that read “magic”
held up a scrap of paper with the words
“Call Zach.” My fears found themselves rearranging.

Fears like you’re not funny enough, you’re not pretty, rearrange[ed]
as I moved the one magnetic “s” to spell
“opportunity[s].” With a name and inviting words
hopes like you might not die alone, he likes you scatter[ed]
the fears to the edge; I called him, booked a date, Tuesday at 8. Magic:
life lived beyond the list.

Zach wasn’t the one. Neither was the next guy, nor the next on a list
of dates, bad and good. Two more years of my fears constantly rearranging
until, I met you. And it wasn’t instant magic,
But you came into my life, let me in yours, and after a spell
my dreams were also scattering.
“Yes” was our most unexpected, important word.

The U-Haul’s here and it’s boxes we’re scattering and rearranging,
I pull off the sticky list of magnets; it’s our future that I spell.
The magic of the magnets is actually the wonder of the words.