producing, from a tote bag, a battered pack
of playing cards, placing it between her teeth,
she began to speak while constructing a smoke.
i made neither head nor tail of what she said
(her words, hidden as they were within that deck),
but, like the best of mime or close hand magic,
it was enough
just to be
The Pupil Dilates.
I asked her, out of the blue, or so it seemed, months later about the cards. I’d never seen her play or even heard mention of them. “Tote bags are useless, you can never find a thing,” she said. But she did.
“I’ve kept them for years.”
When she was at school, Mr. Philips would sometimes end the class with a magic trick. The production of a sweet from an ear, an illusion with a piece of string and the disappearance of a knot, but generally a pick-a-card routine. He would always choose her as his assistant in this performance. One day she asked him why. Because you have the bluest eyes and blue eyes are the easiest to read – the pupil dilates, he explained. But, he’d only explained half the reason. A magician, even an amateur, should never reveal more than is necessary.