Learning Magic

by Matt Barnard

Look, look, the boy said, as he conjured flowers
from the air. The father smiled. Very nice.

And look, the boy said, making water
disappear inside a newspaper

then making it pour into a jug.
Very impressive, the father said.

Now look, the boy said, levitating
and going too high. Be careful, the father said.

But look at this, the boy said
juggling with knives. I don’t like that

the father said. But look, this is even better
the boy said, taking up three chainsaws.

You’re frightening me, the father said.
But I can do this, the boy said, cutting off his arm

and then reattaching it, and the father said nothing;
he was too busy holding his breath.