“A Spell a Day” by Alex Harper

“A Spell a Day” by Alex Harper

She said I had to cast a spell a day
as part of my apprenticeship.

I thought that meant just reading dusty books
and learning how to say the words,

I didn’t realize I’d be summoning
power from deep inside myself each time.

It feels like basic training. I’m dog-tired.
I want to shave my head, wear warrior

marks of black beneath my eyes,
but instead the same face looks out

unchanged from the mirror, no tougher,
no wiser, just weary to the core.

I wonder why I’m doing this
or how long I’ll keep it going —

no magic’s happened yet,
and I think I’ve torn a muscle in my soul.

This lasts a hundred days, and tomorrow
is day two.

Alex Harper’s poems have appeared in Liminality, Mirror Dance, Not One of Us, and Cordite Poetry Review. His poem “Not Even Cursed” appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Kaleidotrope. He lives in England, and can be found online at alexharperwriting.wordpress.com and on Twitter as @harpertext.