Three Wishes

December 11, 2008
By Hannah Starke, Columbia, MO

I sat alone,
watching as the last yuppie vacationer
packed up his peppermint umbrella
and left the beach.
My fingers like a sieve
filtered trough the cooling sand,
while the rhythmic waves
soothed my exhausted heart.
I had walked out again.

Each battle is the same.
First he lies
so I brew.
Then he yells
and I scream.
Our kids cry
as I leave.
We’ve had so much practice
our combat now seems scripted
like the wrestling on WWE.

I was just trying to escape him,
when a glare hit my eye.
The light from the setting sun
had bounced off a tan shard of glass
inches from my foot.
But as I reached over to grab the piece,
I found much more than a fragment.

Buried there in the dune
was a brown bottle.
I pulled it out,
it was heavy
caked with sand inside and out.
Turning the bottle in my hand,
I slowly began to rub it free.
I was hoping that a genie would arise

Not a blue genie filled with merriment
from my daughter’s favorite film,
nor a thin, ditsy, yet radiant blonde
from the show my teenage son
still thought was funny.

Rather my genie would be a man
dignified and strong.
He would be tall and wear a black suit.
His name would be Opportunity.
This genie would start to list all the rules,
but I would cut him short
claiming that I knew those already
anxious to start.

With my first wish,
I would ask for all those years
that I entrusted to my husband
to be given back.
I would return to the time
when Nirvana was my only love
and everything smelled like teen spirit.

And with a clap
Opportunity would
make him disappear .
I would be young again,
my hair would be teased
and my body would fit into
everything mini.
It would be before we messed up,
before I had his baby.

The genie say,
“Now, you have two more.”
I would smile at him
but shake my head no.
I need no more wishes,
one would do the trick.
I could make sure
the man who now hurts my heart
would never enter my life;
I would be fixed.

Yet as I continued to polish
the brown glass free of sand
a sun faded Budweiser become visible
and no genie came.
There was such thing as second chances
not for me, not that day.

As I walked back towards home
defeated and empty,
I threw that bottle to the ground
The glass broke
and the sand spilled,
but out from the pile crawled
two beetles.

I picked up the bugs
and held them at eye level.
They danced in my aged hands.
There I realized that with one clap
two precious lives would

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